Consumer News

AG Derek Schmidt to FCC: Let phone carriers block robocalls from fake phone numbers

Release Date: Jul 07, 2017

TOPEKA – (July 7, 2017) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt this week asked the Federal Communications Commission to move forward with adopting regulations which would allow telephone providers to block illegal robocalls.

Schmidt, along with a bipartisan coalition of 29 other state attorneys general, submitted a comment letter on the FCC’s proposed rules which would allow providers to block several types of “spoofed” calls, in which a call appears to be coming from one number, but is actually coming from a different number. Scammers frequently use spoofed calls to hide their identity and to trick consumers into believing that their calls are legitimate. The use of these spoofed numbers is particularly prevalent in scams where the caller pretends to be calling from the Internal Revenue Service, law enforcement agencies or utility companies.

“Scammers who use these spoofed caller ID numbers are among the worst of the worst,” Schmidt said. “The technology to stop them from even reaching Kansas consumers is now available. It is common sense to change these outdated federal regulations that currently restrict the phone carriers from using this technology to protect consumers.”

If the new rules are adopted, providers would be allowed to block calls coming from invalid numbers, unallocated numbers, and numbers whose owners have requested they be blocked. For example, phone providers would be able to block a scammer that is using a telephone number that clearly can’t exist because it hasn’t been assigned.

In a news release proposing the regulations earlier this year, the FCC said it estimated U.S. consumers received 2.4 billion robocalls per month in 2016. A pilot program of the new call-blocking technology conducted last year showed that it reduced IRS scam calls by about 90 percent.

A copy of the attorneys general’s comment letter is available at http://bit.ly/2tUhl4d.

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