New robocall rules make it easier to protect you and punish scammers


UNITED STATES (WSYR-TV) — Robocalls. We all get them and pretty safe to say that we all hate them. Especially when those illegal calls make it look like it is someone local.

“Spoofing is a way for them to get you to answer the call, so they could spoof a number that looks similar to yours, that’s called neighbor spoofing. So you think maybe it’s somebody who’s local to me,” said Patrick Webre, Chief of the Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau  at the FCC.

It’s becoming cheaper and easier than ever for fraudsters to operate, and oftentimes, those calls originate from overseas. The FCC says it received more than 30,000 complaints just in the first half of the year. 

And they aren’t simply annoying. The consequences can be serious.

“We estimate that they took between probably between $500,000 and $600,000,” said Angela Stanick.

Stanick’s grandmother was one of their victims.

Stancik told Congress, “It is extremely hard to imagine a loved one committing suicide, but she did. Because these individuals preyed on her and on her good heart.”

And those fraudsters also instilled fear, leading to wire transfers, a reverse mortgage and draining her life savings.

“My grandmother died with $69 in her bank account,” Stanick said.

Now the FCC is responding.

Webre said, “We’re empowering phone companies first to block calls before consumers even receive them.”

And using newly granted authority to punish offenders, especially those outside of the country.

Congress is also taking action. Both chambers passed bills that would increase penalties and require service providers to use call authentication technology. The hope is to get the president’s signature on it before the end of the year.

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