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Margaret Reardon has been a news reporter since 2004, covering cell phone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, and the net neutrality discussion, as well as the ongoing integration of phone companies. Email Maggie.
How To Get Back At Phone Scams
Robot calls are the #1 complaint filed with the FCC, and scammers have scammed billions of dollars from Americans. Slowing the flow of these calls is a top priority for the agency, and trying to fill in the remaining gaps.
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The US Federal Communications Commission has prioritized fighting illegal robocalls over the past few years, and the agency continues to stir up tension in 2022. Last week, the agency issued regulations targeting foreign phone scammers, but pressure to stop robocalls is far from over. Been completed.
At a public meeting in May, the FCC voted on its latest efforts to protect consumers. It is after an international robocall scam campaign entered US networks through the alleged portal providers. These gateway providers, which are smaller, unobtrusive companies that deliver calls from one network to another, are often used by foreign scammers to mask incoming calls to the United States. The new FCC requirements will ensure that gateway providers review calls before sending them to other carriers in the state.
“Robot calls are bad,” FCC chair Jessica Rosenworsel said at the FCC’s open meeting in May. “What’s worse is that when we unlock these unwanted phones, the scam artists behind them find new ways to reach us. This increasingly means that bot calls are coming in from abroad. In fact, a study showed that in the last year as many as Two things like this can now come from outside.”
He added that it was time to “get tough on international calls” and “cut these calls before they reach our shores, our homes and our phones.”
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This new rule for gateway providers, which was unanimously adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at its meeting last week, is the latest in a long line of measures the FCC has taken to curb illegal robocalls. In February, Rosenworcel proposed another set of rules to protect consumers from calls without an automated ring.
For years, the epidemic of illegal robocalls has plagued the public. This is Consumer Complaint No. 1 and a top priority in the FCC. As of June 30, 2021, every major audio provider in the United States, including phone companies AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and cable provider Comcast, was required to implement a technology called Stir/Shaken, which is designed to block spam waves. calls by asking the audio provider to verify the source of the call.
In addition to implementing Stir/Shaken, the FCC has also established partnerships with state and county attorneys general to ensure cooperation in robocall investigations. In March, the agency announced that it had added seven public agencies to its list, bringing the total number of partnerships to 22.
Stir/Shaken is a technology that ensures that calls that travel over the telephone network bear the caller ID “signed” as valid by the original carrier and validated by another carrier before the call reaches you. In short, the technology authenticates the origin of the call and makes certain information about the identity of the caller match.
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In 2019, Congress passed the Automated Telephone Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, which mandated that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) establish rules requiring all voice service providers to use this protocol to stop caller identity spoofing. The FCC has set a June 30, 2021 deadline for all major carriers to implement the technology.
Spoofing is when a caller conceals their identity to intentionally falsify the information sent to display your caller ID. Scammers do this to make calls less easy to track. Also, by using so-called neighbor spoofing, which makes the number appear to be local you already know or trust, scammers try to trick you into calling.
In addition to the Stir/Shaken mandate, the law requires the FCC to create a Robocall Mitigation database, and requires all voice providers to submit detailed information to this database that describes how Stir/Shaken is being implemented and describes other efforts they are making. Created to stop illegal bot calls. The law also gives the FCC the power to fine companies that fail to secure efforts to stop robocalls.
In addition, the law requires the FCC to establish rules and select a single industry group to track the origin of illegal robocalls. In 2020, the FCC designated USTelecom’s industrial group Traceback as the official consortium to coordinate tracing efforts. By law, voice providers are required to cooperate with tracking requests from the Integrated Technology Group (ITG).
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The law also extends the authority and scope of federal and state law enforcement powers to search for illegal robot callers.
Previously, the FCC had given small providers, those with fewer than 100,000 subscribers, until June 30, 2023, to implement Stir/Shaken. This extension is intended to allow smaller service providers to assess the costs of implementing and deploying plans. But in December, the FCC postponed a one-year deadline for some smaller providers, with the agency saying there was evidence of a large number of illegal robocalls coming from a subset of smaller providers.
Experts say panning/vibrating alone doesn’t have much effect on robocalls. Like a whack-a-mole game, whenever regulators or law enforcement hit one of the ways in which automated calls are made, fraudsters change tactics and use different tactics. Experts say this is what happens after the Stir/Shaken is activated. Illegal bot callers are kept away from using scam phone numbers made to look like incoming calls from neighbors. Now they buy lists of real phone numbers to trick spam blockers into allowing calls.
Alex Quilici, CEO of Youmail, which tracks and analyzes robocall traffic, said there is reason to be optimistic that efforts to stop robocalls are working. He said the total volume of these spam calls has fallen since its peak in 2019. Americans received 50.5 billion robocalls in 2021, 14% less volume than the peak year of 2019, with more than 58 billion robocalls, but 10% more Approximately. higher than in 2020, with 45.9 billion automated calls.
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“Overall, there has been a decrease in the volume of the automated call when you look at it over a long period of time,” Kelechi said in an interview.
He attributed this to increased enforcement actions by the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and state law enforcement. He said that tracking efforts helped identify fraudsters and that the effort is an enforcement agency to shut down these operations and impose heavy fines. He added that wireless carriers are also playing a more active role in tracking and blocking calls, which has also helped.
Not at all. Qulici said Stir/Shaken has been very helpful because it encourages bad actors to use legitimate phone numbers, which can be easier to trace.
The real problem is that there is a lot of money to be made from deceiving people, which further fuels the actions of criminals. Automated calls are cheap, and scammers around the world use them to defraud billions of dollars from Americans every year.
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While Stir/Shaken and other efforts by the FCC have slowed these spam calls, experts note that there is still a huge problem with stopping calls from outside the US, because US regulators and law enforcement cannot enforce US laws in the outside.
Rosenworcel told the FCC in an interview last summer: “We hear from a lot of local carriers that the number of calls coming in from abroad – it sounds like a scam.” He added that it presents a particular challenge for US regulators and law enforcement authorities to track criminals back to “areas where some of the perpetrators may have escaped before we find them”.
While the United States cannot go after these criminals abroad, they can try to prevent the phones from entering the United States. Here are the new rules for portal providers.
New FCC regulations require gateway providers to turn off automated calls when they enter the United States. The proposed regulations would place additional requirements on gateway providers in the United States who pass voice traffic to networks in other countries.
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New FCC regulations require portal providers to cooperate with and respond quickly to FCC enforcement efforts to trace illegal robocalls back to their source. Failure to follow the proposed rules could result in fines to the FCC and could lead to mandatory bans by other network operators in the US, essentially stopping the gateway provider’s ability to operate.
Congressional lawmakers have proposed legislation to impose tougher penalties on robocallers and illegal scammers. Senators John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, and Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, introduced the Backtracking Robots Promotion Act. It will provide liability protection for private sector-led companies to trace the origins of illegal and abusive robocalls. Two members of the Senate Commerce Committee authored the Trace Act.
A group of 51 attorneys general led by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, and
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