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FCC gives carriers more tools to fight illegal robocalls

Have you ever received a call from the IRS tell you that you owe a ton of money? What about from a “Microsoft support specialist” telling you that your computer is infected with viruses? These are (almost always) illegal robocalls that use phone number spoofing to get you to pick up. It has become a huge problem over the last couple of years, with companies like T-Mobile going so far as to label suspected bad actors when they call you. Now, the FCC is getting involved.

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While T-Mobile’s naming and shaming move is a step in the right direction, it’s not enough. These calls still get through and not ever carrier alerts its customers. Plus, even if you are being alerted, it’s pretty frustrating to get five calls a day you have to immediately dismiss. To help telecoms out, the FCC passed a new rule allowing them to block robocalls which use caller ID spoofing. These spammers will no longer be able to impersonate phone numbers that do not exist, are not allocated to subscribers, or are in-bound phone numbers only.

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The new rules let telecoms automatically block calls that spoof the number to show up as 911 or 411 as well. Also on the list are numbers with unassigned area codes, numbers that do not have the correct number of digits, and unassigned repeating numbers like 000-000-0000.

These new rules are going into effect right now. Companies that utilize robocalls to alert customers that prescriptions are ready or that a repairman is on the way should not be affected by these new rules. Carriers will only have the ability to block robocalls that do not give subscribers an opt-in method.

What do you think of these new rules? Do you think it’ll actually cut down on the number of illegal robocalls or is it an empty gesture? Let us know down in the comments.


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