Why you can look forward to fewer robocalls

Why you can look forward to fewer robocalls

By Nancy Clanton, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren for CNT

FCC now requires phone companies to confirm caller ID is legitimate

“June 30 is an important day in consumer protection history,” said Teresa Murray, consumer watchdog with the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

Why? Wednesday is the deadline the Federal Communications Commission set for most phone providers to install Caller ID verification that will confirm calls on their network are actually coming from the number on display.

That means you can expect to receive fewer annoying — and illegal — robocalls.

With the new caller ID technology, called STIR/SHAKEN, con artists should no longer be able to spoof phone numbers to pose as, for example, the IRS or someone from your company. Illegal robocalls cost Americans $10 billion a year in fraud and $3 billion a year in wasted time, according to the Federal Trade Commission and FCC. Americans this year have received 4 billion robocalls a month, twice as many as they did five years ago.

“The FCC action to thwart robocalls will rank up there with laws guaranteeing consumers access to their credit reports and eliminating abusive credit card practices,” Murray said.

“Robocalls affect all of us. Thousands of people fall for scams each year that start with an illegal robocall and spoofed phone number,” she added. “An elderly man in Cleveland lost $124,000 last month to a robocaller impersonating Amazon. These kinds of heartbreaking cons happen every day. Those of us who don’t get ripped off still have to deal with annoying calls about expired car warranties or unwanted health insurance. Or we don’t answer our phones at all.”

Georgia residents are among those who have been victimized by phone scammers. In November 2019, a University of Georgia student told police he answered an unknown 1-800 number. After talking and listening to the person for nearly 10 hours, the student realized he had been scammed out of more than $30,000.

A 50-year-old businesswoman from Cobb County fell for nearly the exact same scam and lost $35,000 during an 11½ hour call. A year later, the company accused of the fraud scheme was indicted, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

“The FCC for years has been trying to squash illegal robocalls, mostly unsuccessfully. No more Mr. Nice Guy,” Murray added. “The FCC is done asking nicely or urging or begging phone companies to fight robocalls. It’s the law now. Phones are critically important in our society. When our phone rings, we should be able to trust the Caller ID on the display, like we used to. That day is coming back.”

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By Troy Warren

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