FCC wants phone companies to block annoying robo calls for free


You know those annoying, automated phone calls that come in at all hours of the day? Sometimes the scams say you "won" an island getaway, sometimes they flat out ask for credit card information to "check your credit score."

A federal communications leader is urging phone companies to start blocking those calls for free.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote in a blog Friday that he's been reaching out to phone companies and carriers to stop those calls from going through.

The FCC already requires private robocallers to have consent to robocall or text your cell phone. People can also register their numbers on a Do Not Call list to stop telemarketers.

But that hasn't fixed everything.

In fact, Wheeler says most complaints the FCC gets involve robocalls and telemarking. Reuters says the federal group gets hundreds of thousands of those complaints every year.

That's why Wheeler reached out to companies.

The letter explained that the FCC doesn't have any rules preventing companies from offering call blocking services, the Consumerist reports.

Wheeler also asked them to "respond within 30 days with their concrete, actionable solutions to address these issues."

Granted, there's no actual requirement that these companies do this. It's just "strongly encouraged."

One concern of phone companies is that a roboblocker would prevent some important calls from going through, according to the Consumerist.

The FCC's letter states that's why companies should get customers' permission before blocking any calls.

According to the Robocall Index, one in six phone calls is a robocall of sorts – that counts all automated prerecorded calls ranging from appointment reminders to credit card scams.

More than 80 million scam calls are made every month in the U.S. And the source says those calls racked up $8.6 billion last year from consumers and businesses.

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