FCC votes to allow phone carriers to block robocalls, but it could cost consumers

Friday, June 07, 2019


On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a rule that allows, but does not require, phone companies to block robocalls by default. While many phone companies offer robocall-identifying services, many do not actually stop the calls from ringing your phone. The blocking technology works by using algorithms and network scanning to identify unwanted calls, similar to how email providers scan for spam messages.

While the FCC ruling does not require companies to offer this call blocking service, carriers that do must inform consumers of the change to block robocalls by default and provide consumers with an option to opt out of having their calls blocked if they wish to continue to receive all calls.

Americans received a whopping 47 billion robocalls last year alone. Robocalls are automated phone calls that often show up on Caller ID as local phone numbers, or sometimes as spoofed numbers of legitimate businesses or government agencies. While some robocalls are legal and come from legitimate entities, like pharmacies, doctors’ offices or schools, a vast number come from illegal scammers and foreign sources.

While the FCC’s decision is a step toward stopping robocalls from bombarding consumers’ cell phones and landlines, questions remain about whether consumers may have to pay for such services should carriers ultimately activate them.

To read the FCC’s decision, click here.

For more information on how to keep robocalls from inundating your cell phone and landline, read our robocall alert and the “Robocall Scourge” issue of Consumer Action News.






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