Getting fewer robocalls? FCC’s anti-robocall rules take effect

National and World News

A man uses a cell phone in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WGMB) — Have you noticed a drop off in robocalls this week?

In April, there were 4.4 billion robocalls in the United States, according to robocall-prevention service YouMail. The Federal Communications Commission is trying to end those unwanted phone calls.

The FCC’s STIR/SHAKEN caller identification framework went into effect on Thursday.

According to the FCC, under STIR/SHAKEN calls traveling through phone networks would have their caller ID “signed” as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers. STIR/SHAKEN digitally validates the handoff of phone calls passing through the networks, allowing the phone company of the consumer receiving the call to verify that a call is in fact from the number displayed on Caller ID.

“STIR/SHAKEN enables phone companies to verify that the caller ID information transmitted with a call matches the caller’s real phone number,” according to the FCC.

If providers have done what is needed to implement STIR/SHAKEN, they can certify in the Robocall Mitigation Database.

So will unwanted calls be blocked on July 1?

“On June 30, 2021, the FCC confirmed that the largest voice service providers had implemented these standards in the IP sections of their networks, in accordance with the FCC’s deadline,” according to government documents.

So what about smaller carriers?

The FCC said some of them were allowed a deadline extension.

The FCC said that on Sept. 28, “phone companies must refuse to accept traffic from voice service providers not listed in the Robocall Mitigation Database.”

The Federal Communications Commission released the following tips on how to deal with unwanted spam calls:

  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.
  • If the caller claims to be from a legitimate company or organization, hang up and call them back using a valid number found on their website or on your latest bill if you do business with them.
  • If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls, or asks you to say “yes” in response to a question, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, live respondents, or to use your “yes” to apply unauthorized charges on your bill.
  • Be aware: Caller ID showing a “local” number no longer means it is necessarily a local caller.
  • If you answer and the caller asks for payment using a gift card, it’s likely a scam. Legitimate organizations like law enforcement will not ask for payment with a gift card.
  • If you receive a scam call, file a complaint with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center by selecting the “phone” option and selecting “unwanted calls.” The data we collect helps us track trends and supports our enforcement investigations.
  • If you have lost money because of a scam call, contact your local law enforcement agency for assistance.
  • Ask your phone company if it offers a robocall blocking service. If not, encourage them to offer one. You can also visit the FCC’s website for more information about illegal robocalls and resources on available robocall blocking tools to help reduce unwanted calls.
  • Consider registering your telephone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry. Lawful telemarketers use this list to avoid calling consumers on the list.

“We’re not going to stop until we get robocallers, spoofers, and scammers off the line,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

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