Following Push from Senators Collins & Casey, FCC Greenlights Default Robocall Blocking

In a letter to Chairman Pai, the Senators expressed their support for the FCC’s proposal to allow carriers to block illegal robocalls by default, urged further action


Click HERE to read the letter.

 

Washington, D.C. — Following a letter sent by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee, to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC approved a proposal to allow carriers to block illegal robocalls by default. 

 

In the letter, the Senators also noted that they were encouraged by a recent proposed rule to create a “safe harbor” for carriers to block calls that are not authenticated, and they urged the FCC to continue its effort to halt harassing robocalls that are often used as a tool to defraud Americans.

 

Scammers rely on robocalls to reach victims, and they regularly “spoof” victims’ caller IDs to make it seem as if they are calling from a legitimate entity such as the IRS or the local police.  When the Do-Not-Call Registry was created in 2003, telecommunications equipment could not easily be used to “spoof” a caller ID.  Now, criminals can use Voice Over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to hide their identity while generating millions of robocalls from anywhere in the world at practically no cost. 

 

“The American people are tired of having scammers ring their phones off the hook, and they want these calls stopped,” wrote Senators Collins and Casey.  

 

“Experience shows that scammers are ruthless and clever at targeting their victims, and will likely continue their efforts to find even more ways to skirt the rules.  For years, our Committee has stressed the need for regulators and the business community to work together more aggressively to stop scammers from using VoIP and other technologies to facilitate fraud,” the Senators continued.  “We welcome the proposals you have recently announced, and we encourage you to consider further actions within the Commission’s authority to halt illegal robocalls and protect our nation’s seniors.”

 

Combatting fraud that targets seniors has long been a focus of the Senate Aging Committee.  In January, the Aging Committee held the 22nd hearing in the past six years on scams.  Additionally, the Aging Committee released its 2019 Fraud Book, which details the top 10 scams reported to the Committee’s toll-free Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470) last year. 

 

Last month, the Senate passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, legislation cosponsored by Senators Collins and Casey to increase federal law enforcement’s authority to put a stop to illegal robocalls. 

 

Click HERE to read the letter.

 

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