FCC chairman vows relief is on the way with robocalls

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said the commission is using an all hands on deck, every tool in the toolbox approach when it comes to stopping robocalls.

Pai appeared recently on MetroNews ‘Talkline’ to discuss where the FCC stands in the fight against scammers on the phone.

Ajit Pai

“We want consumers to be empowered, we want carriers to be put on notice and we want robocalls to stop be annoying and in some cases scamming consumers,” he said.

Pai recently participated from the SHAKEN/STIR Robocall Summit at the FCC, a recent initiative by the commission.

SHAKEN/STIR stands for Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) standards.

The FCC said it means that calls traveling through interconnected phone networks would have their caller ID “signed” as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers.

According to the FCC, there were 2.5 billion illegal robocalls in March 2019 alone where callers ask for personal information while trying to trick a consumer posing as someone else.

Pai said while he can’t give exact numbers and dates, he predicts the number of calls will go down soon.

“I do think there is going to be a significant decrease in calls as this caller ID authentication framework, Shake and Stir, is rolled out,” Pai said.

“As carriers start to develop these robocall blocking tools by default.”

Pai added the FCC is going to be a cop on the beat and will force phone carriers to adopt caller ID authentication framework by the end of the year.

According to him, the robocallers have a target population that includes the elderly, recent immigrants, foreign language speakers. He said robocallers are more likely to get money out of them.

At least $3 billion of lost time per year is occurring due to these calls, according to the FCC. Those totals do not include monetary losses to fraud.

Pai suggests consumers do not answer the calls and let it go to voicemail. He also said that there are a number of tools in the market place to look into, such as app companies and carrier programs.

“American consumers are sick of it,” Pai said.

“The FCC has heard their call and we are going to demand that carriers take action sooner rather than later.”

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