FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says the agency is committed to solving one of the most annoying problems Americans have to deal with: “robocalls.”
Artificial or prerecorded calls usually come at the worst times, like during dinner with the family, often one of the brief moments people have to unwind from work. Operators who program robot telemarketers, or who directly administer the robocalls, know the evening and nighttime are good times to call because that is when people are home, and thus most likely to answer.
“Americans want these unwanted intrusions to end. Robocalls and telemarketing calls are the number one source of consumer complaints that the FCC receives,” Pai writes in an opinion piece for The Hill. “But there’s good news: The FCC is committed to solving this problem.” (RELATED: America’s Favorite Cell Phone Perk Is Coming Back, FCC Head Says, Because Of Obama Regs Roll-Back)
Pai explains that the federal government’s “Do Not Call” list is not completely addressing the situation because “scofflaws are finding creative ways to badger consumers without being caught.”
One major means of getting around current consumer protections is called “ID spoofing,” in which someone calling from one number changes the caller ID information in order to make it appear as though it’s actually a different number.
Scammers, spammers, and would-be swindlers essentially disguise their true identity in order to dupe people into answering unsolicited phone calls.
Pai, the newly appointed head of the FCC, has the help of the private sector through Robocall Strike Force, a coalition led by AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson. (RELATED: AT&T CEO Bashes FCC, Says Net Neutrality Rules ‘Bad For The Industry’)
The organization is comprised of 33 major companies, including big tech giants like Sprint, Apple, Microsoft, and T-Mobile.
Pai says the FCC plans on doing something about the problem and is voting on a proposal Wednesday to determine whether phone companies should be given more flexibility to block robocalls.
A dry run of the new policy reduced IRS scam calls by about 90 percent in the third quarter of 2016.
“Everyone believes that artificial or prerecorded calls — ‘robocalls,’ as they’re known — are awful. They’re intrusive. They’re unwanted. And American consumers received an estimated 29 billion of them in 2016. That’s about 230 calls for every U.S. household. Former Sen. Fritz Hollings was right; robocalls are ‘the scourge of civilization,'” said Pai.
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