FCC Launches New Program to Reduce Robocalls

A new requirement by the FCC on the big telephone companies is aiming to cut down on robocalls

NBC Universal, Inc.

According to cyber researchers, the pandemic has actually helped cut down on robocalls over the last few months. Although, it may not have seemed like it to many.

A new requirement by the FCC on the big telephone companies is aiming to cut down on those annoying calls even more. Starting this month, all the big telephone companies have implemented a new protocol called "STIR/SHAKEN."

The major phone companies are basically vouching that incoming phone calls are really coming from the number on the caller ID.

This week, AT&T said it's already blocked a billion unverified numbers on its network. It's all an effort to stop fake or spoofed calls.

“Right now, bad guys can basically pick whatever random number they want to use and pretend that's the phone number making the call,” said Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail. “That will mostly go away as STIR/SHAKEN fully rolls out.”

Quilici said that telephone companies working together like this will start making it more expensive for robocallers and spammers to operate. That's because they will now have to pay for the verified numbers instead of just making them up.

“When you do that, part of STIR/SHAKEN is the ability to quickly trace back who's making any phone calls,” Quilici added.

Unfortunately, experts believe this will only slow scammers down.

That’s why the new acting chair of the FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel pledges to be more aggressive when dealing with these annoying calls.

In a statement to NBC News this week she writes in part:

“From a steady stream of cease-and-desist letters to STIR/SHAKEN implementation to large fines and our robocall mitigation database. We are going to do everything we can to protect consumers from these nuisance calls."

As, the new STIR/SHAKEN program rolls out over the next few months, services like YouMail and Roboblocker can help you deal with the ones that still somehow manage to get through to your phone.

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