The US Senate and the FCC has finally taken up the battle against Robocalls and Phone Scams. This federal intervention should provide much needed relief to consumers. Estimates of robocalls and phone scams have grown from 29% of all calls in 2018 to as much as 45% of all phone calls in 2019.
THE TRACED ACT
In May the US Senate approved the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrance (TRACED) Act by a 97-1 vote. Don’t you just love how they come up with these nifty names? Also, I wonder which Senator was the only one who didn’t think this legislation should be passed. The TRACED Act grants the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stepped-up enforcement power to levy heavy penalties and fines against violators.
Additionally, the FCC voted unanimously to finally grant telecommunications companies the authority to use technology to proactively identify and block Robocallers. A summit was held in July with carriers to identify a framework for implementing these new guidelines. The FCC says it is committed to pursuing “aggressive enforcement action” against Robocallers.
MOST ALL ROBOCALLS ARE ILLEGAL
Robocallers often place their calls using internet technology that hides their location. When these calls come in, your Caller ID usually displays a “spoofed” (fake) phone number. Tens of millions of these calls are blasted out each day. Most robocalls and phone scams are automated voice messages.
Industry stakeholders are working to implement a caller ID authentication system. Once implemented, it should help the accuracy of caller ID information and help consumers determine which calls are authenticated.
EXAMPLES OF 2 NEW ROBOCALL TACTICS
‘Neighborhood Spoofing’ and the ‘One Ring Scam’ are two of the newest tactics being used to get you to pick up or call back. Neighborhood Spoofing is when a fraudster alters their phone # to look like a phone number with the same area code as yours. The One Ring Scam involves a Robocaller hanging up after only one phone ring, hoping you’ll be curious enough to call back.
THWART ROBOCALLS AND PHONE SCAMS
- Don’t Engage: Don’t pick up if it’s a number you don’t recognize. Let it go to voicemail.
- Don’t Answer: Don’t pick up or return any calls you don’t recognize
- Don’t Encourage Them: If you are instructed to press a “key” to be taken off their list or to speak to an operator you are, in essence, logging your number as a working number. You will be targeted for even more annoying calls. Hang up without pressing any keys!
- Block Them: Block Robocall phone numbers on your phone, but realize that telemarketers change phone numbers often.
- Use Technology: Use call blocking options for your cellphone
- List: Add your number on the Do Not Call Registry If your number is already registered and you still get unwanted calls, report them to help expose and catch these fraudulent callers.
- Forward: SPAM text messages to 7726 (or SPAM)
- Report: File a Complaint to help investigators detect and track patterns in Robocalls. Call the Federal Trade Commission at 888-382-1222.
Read my prior article about Robocalls here.
FCC Consumer Resources