FCC Tells Phone Companies to Use Robocall-Fighting Tools by June 2021




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Close up of girl on laptop and cellphonePhone companies have a little over a year to implement new tools meant to fight robocalls, after the Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules to better verify incoming phone calls.

In a press release, the FCC said phone companies have until June 30th, 2021 to put the tools to use on their networks. The move follows last year’s TRACED Act (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence), which directed the FCC to establish new rules and policies to better guard against robocalls.

Known as STIR/SHAKEN, the new tech allows phone companies to verify that caller ID info actually matches the caller’s phone number. The idea is to curb the use of “spoofing,” where phone calls are disguised and made to look like they’re coming from a reliable or trusted source.

“Widespread implementation of STIR/SHAKEN will reduce the effectiveness of illegal spoofing, allow law enforcement to identify bad actors more easily, and help phone companies identify — and even block — calls with illegal spoofed caller ID information before those calls reach their subscribers. Most importantly, it will give consumers more peace of mind when they answer the phone,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement today.

Earlier this year, we reported on phone companies beginning to implement STIR/SHAKEN into their systems. T-Mobile, for one, announced a program called Caller Verified that works with certain networks, such as when T-Mobile customers receive calls from other T-Mobile devices, or from Comcast Xfinity Voice home phones. Of course, the tool’s effectiveness should improve further as more networks and companies sign on.

The FCC estimates that cracking down on robocalls could save more than $3 billion per year, adding that fraudulent robocalls also cost Americans around $10 billion annually.

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