I’ve seen literally thousands of memes from people making jokes about how millennials hate using their phones to answer calls. This might not be the case if 99.999% of the time our phones rang there wasn’t robocall spam on the other end but that’s the reality these days….for now
It appears as if the U.S. Government is FINALLY getting serious about cracking down on robocalls which amounts to EXTREME harassment for a lot of people. There are days when my phone rings every hour from some shitty ‘energy audit’ company in the state of Florida that won’t stop spamming me no matter how many times I block their phone numbers (they use A LOT of different numbers).
What’s crazy is the cellphone carriers/companies have ALWAYS had the power to stop this. AT&T only recently started rolling out a feature that screens these calls when they could’ve done this years ago. Before, every time your phone would ring it was some shithead robocalling spambot or a telemarketer, but as of the past few days it looks like this:
Now, the US government is getting serious about cracking down on the tens billions of robocalls sent out to Americans by spammers each year:
The US government announced a nationwide crackdown on illegal robocalls on Tuesday, targeting companies and individuals who have collectively placed over 1 billion unwanted calls for financial schemes and other services, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The crackdown involves nearly 100 cases, five of which are criminal enforcement actions. They were brought by the FTC, Justice Department, 15 states and a slew of local authorities.
It marks the latest effort by regulators to battle back the tide of unwanted and illegal calls from telemarketers and scammers. (via)
A Florida man, Derek Jason Bartoli, was reportedly responsible for tens of millions of robocalls in a span of just six months according to the federal complaint. He and others used automated software that can blast out a crazy amount of calls in short bursts:
Some of those targeted by the action were a major source of robocalls. Derek Jason Bartoli, a Florida man who allegedly developed, sold and used a form of software that allows millions of calls to be placed in quick succession, was responsible for 57 million calls to US phone numbers over six months in 2017, according to a federal complaint.
“By putting people like Derek Bartoli out of business, we are able to deprive the robocallers of the important tools of their trade,” said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection, in a press conference Tuesday. (via)
Lawmakers in Congress are now preparing joint legislation that will expand the government’s power to limit robocalls, presumably after years and years of inaction on behalf of the carriers themselves.
It comes as lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are preparing legislation that would expand the government’s power to limit illegal robocalls. On Tuesday, a House subcommittee is expected to consider the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act. The bill directs the Federal Communications Commission to flesh out its rules making clear that robocalls may only be made to consumers with their consent.
In the Senate, the TRACED Act would expand the FCC’s power to punish illegal robocallers by increasing the maximum fines that the agency can levy for each robocall and by extending the statute of limitations to three years, up from one. (via)
According to the report on CNN, Americans received 25.3 BILLION robocalls in just the first half of 2019 which is a 128% increase from the same period last year.
Again, I repeat, the cellphone carriers (Verizon, ATT, Sprint, etc) could all stop this today if they wanted to. If they weren’t making a fortune off of these calls it would (and should) end today, but that’s not going to happen and now the U.S. Government has to step in.
The telecom industry did recently receive FCC clearance to start auto-blocking these calls so it’s possible that change is coming like what we’ve seen with AT&T. I have noticed a downtick in the number of spam calls I’ve received over the past week or two but that’s anecdotal and these things always seem to come in waves. If you answer one call then you get five more that day.
For more on this story, you can click here to read the full report on CNN Business.