Bill to make phone companies provide robocall-blocking tech introduced in Congress

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — People are sick and tired of robocalls. Millions of Americans’ landlines and mobile phones are ringing at all hours of the day and night with sales people or scammers.

Maryland resident Barry Graham is on the job hunt, and said the unwanted phones calls are a major distraction.

“You think someone is calling you to say we’d like to interview you for this position,” said Graham. 

Instead Graham said scammers were on the other end of the line. Maureen Mehoney with Consumer Reports said despite efforts to block robocalls, the problem is only getting worse.

“Often times located overseas they are intending to commit fraud and have no incentive to respect the “Do Not Call List,” said Mehoney.

The National Do Not Call Registry was established in 2013 as a way to reduce unwanted calls from telemarketers. However, according to Consumer Reports, in 2018 a record 48 billion robocalls were placed to U.S. phones, which works out to 1,500 robocalls per second. Lawmakers want the harassment to stop.

“Robocalls have become the scourge for consumers” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D) Connecticut. “They are the consumer plague of our time.” 

Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced a bill that requires phone companies to provide robocall blocking technology. Congresswoman Jackie Speier is a co-sponsor. 

“It creates accountability for the telecomm and it requires them to provide for free a blocking system for consumers,” said Congresswomen Jackie Speier, (D) California. 

In addition to legislation, officials are calling on the FCC to do more to prevent fake caller ID numbers and better protect unsuspecting consumers from scam artists.

Tips on how to protect yourself from robocalls: https://www.consumerreports.org/robocalls/how-to-block-robocalls-how-to-protect-yourself/

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