WASHINGTON - Update 3:24 p.m. EDT June 6: The Federal Communication Commission has approved the measure that could automatically block robocalls, but customers may have to pay for the service.
The FCC approved the measure Thursday that will make customers opt out of the service, instead of having to opt in to blocking the calls, according to CNN.
However, no measures were adopted that would have the blocking service provided at no cost, CNN reported.
FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said if companies charge customers for the service he will have “serious concerns,” CNN reported.
Original report: The Federal Communications Commission is looking to get your phone to stop ringing from all those robocalls and scams.
You know the ones -- “Windows Support” that has been paid for has run out or medical devices that you never inquired about but the callers claim you did.
Currently, customers with either landlines or cellphones, have to opt in to the call blocks, USA Today reported.
The rule would allow companies to put into practice controls that many have already developed but haven’t rolled out because they were afraid the measures used to block calls would be considered illegal, CNN reported.
“Allowing call blocking by default could be a big benefit for consumers who are sick and tired of robocalls,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.
The FCC is also looking into verifying the phone numbers that appear on caller IDs. Many scammers are spoofing numbers, using local area codes to get unsuspecting phone users to pick up a vaguely familiar number, CNN reported.
The measure will be voted on at the FCC’s meeting June 6, USA Today reported.
If you think you’ve been getting more robocalls, you are probably right.
A record 5.23 billion robocalls were made in March. The number fell slightly in April, USA Today reported.
FCC officials said the commission gets more than 200,000 complaints about robocalls annually.
Until blanket blocks are available by default, officials give these tips to get the calls to stop and what to watch out for:
- Don’t answer unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.
- If a caller says they’re from a company, hang up and call them back with a valid number from either the company’s official website or a bill.
- Don’t press a button to stop calls. Just hang up.
- Don’t answer yes if you’re asked a question. Just hang up.
- If a caller demands payment in the form of a gift call, it is most likely a scam.
- File a complaint about an unwanted call.
- Call law enforcement if you have lost money because of a scam call.
- See if your phone company offers robocall blocking and opt in to it.
- Register on National Do Not Call Registry.