Carriers are getting another tool to use in the fight against illegal robocalls.
The FTC is beginning a new initiative that will feed data on robocalls that violate the Do Not Call registry rules directly to carriers each day. The plan is part of an overall strategy at the FTC to combat robocalls and illegal telemarketing operations. The commission has been cracking down on large robocall operations for several years, and also has been working with the FCC on anti-robocall technology.
This latest move from the FTC builds on the efforts, as well as an existing tool that the commission has to allow consumers to report numbers that violate the Do Not Call registry rules. When consumers report new numbers that have called their numbers on the registry, the FTC compiles a list and posts it each day. Now, the commission will begin feeding those numbers directly to telecom carriers who are providing call-blocking tools for consumers.
“Sharing the critical information from consumers’ unwanted call complaints to enable industry innovators to stop illegal robocalls is exactly the type of public-private partnership the FTC champions,” said Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen.
The FTC will be giving detailed information about each call to the carriers, including the date and time of the call and the subject. Carriers will also get information on whether the call was a robocall or from a human. The carriers then can add those new numbers to their blacklists each day, making the tools more and more effective.
Many of the robocalls targeting consumers on both landlines and mobile phones are illegal. If the caller doesn’t have prior consent from the recipient to make robocalls, then it’s likely illegal, with the exception of public safety and some other calls.
“Companies will be able to use this information to help identify which calls should be blocked or flagged. Even if a scammer fakes caller ID information — so the number you see isn’t the scammer’s real number — reporting it can make a difference,” Amy Hebert, a consumer eduction specialist at the FTC, said.