Americans receive more than 2.4 billion unwanted robocalls each month. To remedy this consumer nuisance, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve a proposed rule that would allow phone companies to prevent spammy robocallers from using a number that has not been assigned to them or has a fake area code.
With the technology known as spoofing, scammers are able to circumvent the Do Not Call registry that allows consumers to block calls from bothersome telemarketers. The new rules would allow phone companies to block certain phone numbers that they know are invalid and allow businesses to register their number on the “Do Not Originate” list. Phone companies could then block phone numbers that display a phone number on the list but originate from elsewhere. For instance, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation could put our phone number, 617-933-8700, on the list. If a spam call originates from a different number but the caller id displayed that number (because it was spoofed) the call would be blocked.
Phone companies have been trying to crack down on robocalls for the last several years. T-Mobile recently announced that starting April 5th subscribers will automatically be informed when an incoming call is a robocall. Customers even have the option of enabling ‘Scam Block’, which will prevent suspected scam calls from being received at all.
Because there are still steps to be taken to finalize the rule, here are some tips for when you receive irritating robocalls:
- Do not pick up calls from a number you do not recognize. Let them go to voicemail.
- If you do answer and discover it’s a robocall, immediately hang up. By engaging in the call, you are letting them know you are an active user and will receive more of them.
- Sign up for the Massachusetts Do-Not-Call Registry.
If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Program and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.
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