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FCC: Almost half of the phone calls in 2019 will be spam

Ninety percent of these calls will have known caller IDs, but there is no effective way to identify a call as spam before answering.

"Currently, the only sure way to determine if a call is to be answered or left to be sent to voice mail, and I hope the caller leaves a message," the report said. Not all robocalls are illegal or undesirable. Businesses, such as pharmacies, banks, and utilities, use them to provide information and alerts to their customers.

But despite the laws prohibiting certain types of robots, including those made to individuals in the national do not call and the national fraud register, these calls have risen over the years.

YouMail, a third-party tracking organization, estimates that more than 47.8 billion Robocalls were made in 201
8, up 57% from the previous year. In October, CNN announced that these calls are becoming increasingly risky for consumers, as voice-manipulating technology is getting more and more accessible.

The FCC report is the first to be published by the agency evaluating the frequency and prevention of illegal robots. It concludes that although the frequency of calls is increasing, progress is being made in terms of prevention and enforcement.

"We are firmly focused on solving this serious problem," said FCI chairman Ajit Pai in a press release. "There is no easy or unequivocal answer, but by using each tool in our toolbox, we fight against the attack of unwanted calls that have caused many users to stop responding to the phone completely."

The basic tactics the FCC uses to combat such calls are call authorization and call tracking methods. Both require assistance from telephone service providers.

Caller authorization will determine whether a call actually comes from the number presented in the caller ID of the user. In November, the FCC asked service providers to adopt a method called SHAKEN / STIR to effectively certify to users whether the numbers represented in the caller ID are accurate. Service providers have agreed to introduce the service by the end of this year.

The FCC also asked service providers to help track robocalls back to their original callers by providing call records that consumers have complained about.

The FCC's ability to enforce robocalls laws partly depends on people's complaints about specific calls. The Agency received 232,000 complaints in 2018

"The number of complaints received is not equal to the number of illegal robots," the report said. "Many illegal robots are probably unreported while users can report calls and complain about legitimate but just unwanted calls."

Other challenges the CSF faces in resolving the problem, according to the report, are further cooperation from foreign governments and service providers, as well as a longer limitation period for such cases.

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