FCC Has Named a Special Group To Hunt Down Illegal Robocalls





The Federal Communications Commission has officially tapped a key group to lead the fight against illegal robocalls.

The agency re-designated the Industry Traceback Group as its primary frontline of defense against illegal robocalls, according to a report from Fierce Wireless on Tuesday. The Traceback Group lives up to its name — it literally traces back robocalls to the source. The semi-automated system, established by USTelecom in 2016, is able to locate the origin of a robocall by going from provider to provider, piecing together information until it discovers where the call came from.

Re-designating the Traceback Group is the FCC’s latest strike in the ongoing war against robocalls. By naming the group as the official organization tasked with tracking robocalls, the agency has empowered the team to more effectively work with the entire wireless industry. Prior to the group, tracing a robocall could take months, the process bogged down with a subpoena required for each provider. Now, tracing a call just takes a few days or less. At their most dangerous, robocalls can cause serious problems like identity theft and social security fraud, making a speedy, efficient response crucial.

Robocalls are automated, recorded calls that often pertain to marketing, but can also attempt to steal information from the call’s recipient.

“The Industry Traceback Group (ITG) continues to fight to protect consumers against illegal robocalls, scammers and spoofers, and we’re honored that the FCC has once again recognized our important role in this work,” Jonathan Spalter, CEO of USTelecom said in the report.

The battle against robocalls isn’t new. Last year, robocalls topped 50.3 billion. Multiple US attorney generals filed suit against Avid Telecom in May, alleging the company robocalled over 7.5 billion people on the National Do Not Call Registry. In July, the FCC placed Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) protocols into effect, which better identify and track robocalls. The FCC also initiated Operation Stop Spam Calls, enlisting over 100 federal and state law enforcement departments. This month alone, the FCC identified One Owl Telecom as a gateway company for international robocalls and levied a massive $300 million fine against scammers Roy M. Cox and Aaron Michaels Jones.

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