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A looming deadline should finally force all U.S. phone companies to take stopping robocalls seriously. However, according to a new report by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, Make the Ringing Stop: The FCC is Finally Fighting Back Against Robocalls, only one-third of the largest mobile and home phone providers nationwide have installed caller ID verification aimed at squashing illegal robocalls, even though many of those businesses were required to do so by June. The stakes get higher Sept. 28 when phone providers are required to block calls from companies that haven’t at least reported their status to the Federal Communications Commission.
“The FCC must follow through with its promise to monitor how effectively all providers are reducing and blocking robocalls and then must turn its attention to the growing problem of robotexts,” stated Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.
According to the Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s report, among the 3,063 telecommunications providers who reported their status to the FCC as of this month, and who the FCC did not exempt from submitting information:
● Only 17 percent said they had completely implemented anti-robocall technology.
● 27 percent said they had partially implemented the technology.
● 56 percent said they were not using the industry standard technology but rather are using their own methods to manage robocalls.
“Consumers want their phone company to block spam calls. In addition to being annoying, illegal robocalls cost Americans $3 billion annually in wasted time and another $10 billion annually in fraud,” Murray said. She added that while robocalls have declined slightly this summer, regulators need to move up the deadline for smaller companies, who have until June 2023 to upgrade their technology.
The Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s Tips to Avoid Robocalls, Identity Theft and Fraud can be downloaded at www.ArizonaPIRGEdFund.org. Tips include: never confirm or provide personal information to any caller you weren't expecting; don't be fooled by what your caller ID says as phone numbers can be spoofed; if you pick up the phone and realize it's an illegal robocall, hang up; and register your phone number or report unwanted calls at www.donotcall.gov/.
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