One thing everyone can agree on is that the robocalls are a real problem. That is the reason why the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) will most likely allow blocking unwanted phone calls. Companies will have an option of blocking a phone number if there’s any doubt about its credibility.
Marketers are, normally, forbidden by the law from calling people on the Do Not Call lists. Despite this, about 2.4 billion robocalls were made only during last year, according to FCC. To make matters worse, the IRS estimated that robocall scammers managed to steal more than $26.5 million by posing as tax collectors.
The attempt to find the culprits has been unsuccessful so far, mostly because they often don’t use their real phone numbers while scamming, but instead they rely on mimicking inactive or unassigned numbers. More and more complaints about this arrive at FCC with every passing month.
Because of this, many of the phone companies started using automated blocking tools like Nomorobo. Tools like this work by blocking the known robocallers, which is perfectly legal. FCC actually encourages the use of these tools and even suggests that carriers should provide them for their customers.
Of course, there are certain problems with this approach as well, as pointed out by some companies, including AT&T. They complained that by allowing the call blocking, some legitimate callers could be blocked by mistake.
The proposal created between the FCC and companies that include Google, Apple, Comcast and AT&T, the so-called “strike force”, will be voted on today.
If the proposal is accepted, and its rules go into effect, the possibility of blocking the fake numbers will be allowed and encouraged. The numbers that will be legally blocked will include those that aren’t assigned to anyone, as well as those that don’t exist, for example, “000-000-0000”.
In defense of the proposal, the FCC chairman Ajit Pai stated in a blog post that “There is no reason why any legitimate caller should be spoofing an unassigned or invalid phone number,” adding also that “It’s just a way for scammers to evade the law.”
The possibility exists that scammers will evolve if and when this proposal goes into effect. They might, possibly, find another way to scam their victims in the future, but, as stated, the carrier will no longer be able to blame the government for not blocking most robocalls.