FCC robocalls: ” 2.5 billion of those calls last month”

Category: Science Written by Beth Owens 4,784 18

Major tech companies are joining forces with the Federal Communications Commission to come up with solutions to stop dreaded robocalls.

According to CBS, more than 29 billion robocalls bombarded Americans last year.

New Federal Communications Commission rules that give consumers greater protection against robocalls took effect in October 2013, but the onslaught continues. Advances in technology have made it easy and cheap to send thousands of pre-recorded phone calls per minute using autodialers and fake caller IDs that make tracing hard.

Meanwhile, AT&T announced that the company has blocked its 1 billionth robocall using software that blocks such calls from being originated on its lines. This helps consumers whose phones operate with any carrier.

In a rare interview, CBS News correspondent Anna Werner spoke with new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to discuss how to deal with robocalls.

The telecom industry claims it’s working to block them, but that its efforts are complicated both by legal hurdles and the difficulty of tracing where these calls are coming from.

“It’s not normal to listen to your voicemails and immediately have people yelling at you to stop calling them,” said Peter Clarke.

Clarke hadn’t called anyone but when he checked his phone, he found more than a dozen missed calls with messages like, “I think you have the wrong number, Peter.”

Or, “Hi. You guys need to quit calling my phone. I don’t have a credit card. This is ridiculous.”

It’s called “spoofing.” Scammers make it appear as if robocalls to others are coming from your phone — making the actual scammers nearly impossible to track.

“It’s frustrating. There’s literally nothing that you can do to prevent yourself from being a victim to this spoofing,” Clarke said.

FCC robocalls
FCC robocalls


Werner asked, “Do you have a deadline for companies to fix this?”

“We certainly want them to move as quickly as possible and as aggressively as possible. Some of it is difficult to do, because these are highly technical areas,” Pai said.


The FCC is offering other advice too:

  • If you do answer a call and are instructed to hit a button to stop receiving calls, just hang up. Don’t hit a button. It almost surely won’t help and could hurt you. “Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, live respondents,” the FCC says.
  • If you get a call that you believe is a scam, write down the phone number and file a complaint with the FCC.
  • Ask your phone company whether it offers a service to block robocalls. “If not, encourage your provider to offer one,” the FCC says.
  • If you’ve responded to a “Can you hear me” call, watch your statements from your phone company, bank and credit card company.
  • Register all of your phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.

More phone companies, with both landlines and cell lines, are offering services

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18 thoughts on “FCC robocalls: ” 2.5 billion of those calls last month”

  1. dev

    We have registered all of our phones with the federal and state Do Not Call lists and check to make sure we are still listed each year. Still, we get robocalls! Something effective really needs to be done.

    1. Nan

      The Do Not Call List is a joke and has been since inception. IT DOES NOT WORK. They just call back with new number. I’m tired of trying to block numbers which doesn’t work either. Just don’t answer your phone if you don’t know who it is.

  2. ve

    ecause of voice over internet it’s impossible to truly block these calls. Your best defense is simply NEVER picking up the phone unless and until you’ve seen a number you CAN identify or the voice of someone you know. You can always call people back. I find the majority of the calls on my phones are now scams. I get more scam calls than real calls, and they waste my cell minutes as well as my time.

    1. zebratiger

      You are 100% correct, we have done this and the robot calls have been reduced by 90%.
      Just don’t answer your phone unless you know who is calling. We have to beat them at their own game.

  3. Jan F

    I only have room for 20 voice mails and mine are always filled up with 9 second press #2 blah blah blah! Friends and family trying to leave a message hear “this users voice mail is full”. It’s beyond annoying!

  4. Wick

    “Register all of your phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.” What the hell for?
    It does absolutely nothing. Just another… something to make you feel like something is going to happen deal.

    1. johnny long

      Yes, register it and continue to report it. I have an attorney who says he can get me money from these companies. Nothing yet but hopeful. But you need a track record of complaints and who is better than the FCC.

  5. JS

    I registered all our phones on the do not call list and I think they have hacked into it because calls INCREASED after I registered. It’s become a directory. I have 4 pages of numbers that have called in the last 2 months.

  6. Zenzari

    Every day I receive at least one robocall. I am not sure what good it does, but I report every call to donotcall.gov. At least it gives them statistics of the robocall epidemic. Seems like over the past few months, the number of calls has gotten worse.

  7. Rip Van Winkle

    The National Do Not Call Registry is a COMPLETE waste of time.

    You can register with it but don’t expect it to help AT ALL.

    I have filed 100’s of complaints on that site and I basically get told that they do not look into individual complaints.

    So basically the spammers change their numbers so there are never bulk complaints on this site about certain numbers that flag it to be looked at closer.

    Again dont waste your time and the government is pretty much not going to do anything about it.

    If it was me I would do away with the Do Not Call registry if it cant make any change in the amount of spam calls.

    I would like to know how much tax payer dollars are spent on the site?

  8. Marty McFly

    It’s a simple solution. Phone numbers can be treated like a buddy list, you just say “block all” and add only the numbers to the that list that you want calling you. They won’t do that though for some weird reason. Probably cause the phone companies are behind the robocalls just like Microsoft is behind all the malware. Fuck 2017. I wish it was 1885.

  9. fcc

    The answer is to shift the burden onto the party best equipped to handle the flood of robocalls, and that is the telephone company. The law should hold AT&T Company liable for robocalls made over their LD network and the local Bell Operating Companies and cell Providers liable for robocalls routed through their equipment. When they have to start paying fines of $5 for each illegal call they will very quickly develop software to detect and track down the sources of these annoying calls. It will be easy for them and nobody else has the equipment and access to the calling data.

  10. Jue

    We get calls from Card Services several times a day. I block the number and they call from another number. Never ending from home security, medical devices, drugs and anything you can think of. My husband turned 65 last year and the calls for insurance were unending. Sometimes 10 a day. We have caller ID and didn’t answer but that didn’t stop the calls. If we are busy we have to stop and see who’s calling. Shouldn’t have to put up with the harressment.

  11. robo bill

    This could be a problem. What about automated calls the schools set up to let you know of something important? What about when your bank calls to let you know of suspicious activity on your card and that it has been suspended until u confirm charges?

  12. blair33

    Hard to beleieve this even needed FCC approval, and it took this long for them to do something about it. I work from home a lot and get about 5-10 calls per day. Even though I’m on the do not call list.

  13. sam

    This could be a problem. What about automated calls the schools set up to let you know of something important? What about when your bank calls to let you know of suspicious activity on your card and that it has been suspended until u confirm charges?

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