The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to make it easier for wireless carriers to block unwanted robocalls on their systems. Now, carriers can switch on robocall-blocking technologies automatically for all customers, instead of doing it individually for each customer after obtaining their consent. The move could make call-blocking more widespread, preventing millions of these calls from reaching their intended targets.
Over the past few years, cheap software has made it easy to make mass automated calls. While some of automated calls originate from legitimate sources, like charities and insurance services, others come from scammers using fake phone numbers to trick you into answering. According to the FCC, more than 60 percent of the consumer complaints they receive involve unwanted robocalls.
The wireless companies have been slow to act against these types of calls on their own. While some phone companies have rolled out call-blocking apps, customers have to opt-in to them and may have to pay for the services. The FCC hopes that the wireless companies will now roll out these call-blocking features to all of their customers for free, but they are not mandated to do so.
Wireless carriers that decide to roll out the call-blocking features will have to give their customers a way to opt out of them. It is hard to imagine that anyone would want to allow robocalls to flood their phones, but some people may not be comfortable with allowing their wireless carrier to decide which calls come through and which ones do not.
According to expert estimates, Americans now receive roughly 5 billion robocalls per month, about 14 calls per person. That is nearly double the amount recorded back in November 2017. There were already measures in place to try to stem the tide, but scammers have found a way to get around nearly every measure implemented. Now, the government is counting on a coordinated effort between the wireless companies to make a difference in blocking these automated calls.