Phone providers vow to help combat robocalls

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There’s a major step being taken to help stop the flow of those annoying robocalls.

Twelve phone companies have said they will work with law enforcement in every state to help block and detect robocalls.

The agreement was pioneered in part by NC Attorney General Stein and it took 18 months to work out.

He said robocalls are a scrouge. “In North Carolina, it’s the number one source of complaints my office receives.”

The agreement mandates phone companies use new tech to stop robocalls.

Robocalls vary from selling services to scamming you out of your money.

Many originate overseas and are hard to trace because the caller is using a fake, or spoofed phone number.

Under the agreement, the phone companies will use a technology called Shaken and Stir.

It’s a like a digital fingerprint that will ensure the number you see on the caller ID is actually the number that is calling you—not a spoofed number.

It’s a problem that’s been increasing exponentially.

Last month, the FCC said Americans received over 1,600 robocalls a second.

Beverley Figerouas had her phone number spoofed by robocallers who used it to get thousands of victims to take their scam call.

“You feel so helpless because you have no control over where your phone number is going,” she said.

The new agreement will also give law enforcement more tools.

“By shining a light on robocalls we will be able to aggressively enforce the law,” said Stein.

Under the agreement phone companies’ promise:

  • To provide call blocking technology at no charge
  • Investigate and trace illegal calls
  • Co-operate with law enforcement in tracking down robocallers

“The sophistication of call blocking technology is such that it will be able to discern what is a lawful and what is an illegal call,” said Stein.

Although a dozen companies have agreed to this new deal—there’s no timetable stipulating when any changes will be put into place.

Stein says he hopes it will be sooner rather than later. He says as soon as it is practical—we should see them implemented because law enforcement needs to try and control the escalating robocall problem.

“We will aggressively use whatever authority we have to bring peace and quiet to people’s homes,” he said.

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