Millions of Americans are sick of robocalls. Their landlines and cell phones are ringing at all hours of the day and night, with salespeople on the other end pitching everything from replacement windows to vacation homes. The “Do Not Call List” is a failure, obviously. So lawmakers are examining new ways to stop those incessant, often predatory, calls.
Maryland resident Barry Graham is on the job hunt and says the unwanted phone calls are a major distraction.
“You think someone is calling you to say, ‘We’d like to interview you for this position,'” he said.
Instead, they’re scammers on the other end of the line.
Maureen Mehoney, with Consumer Reports, says despite efforts to block robocalls, the problem is only getting worse.
“Oftentimes located overseas that are intending to commit fraud and have no incentive to respect the Do Not Call List.”
According to Consumer Reports, in 2018, a record 48 billion robocalls were placed to U.S. phones. That works out to 1,500 robocalls per second.
Lawmakers say the harassment has to stop.
“Robocalls have become the scourge for consumers. They are the consumer plague of our time,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D – Connecticut).
Blumenthal introduced a bill that requires phone companies to provide robocall blocking technology.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D – California) is a co-sponsor.
“It creates accountability for the telecomms and it requires them to provide — for free — a blocking system for consumers,” she said.
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.