Americans who are constantly being harassed and annoyed by fraudulent texts and calls to their cell phones may soon get some relief. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is working on a plan to go after the culprits of such schemes. Rob Marvin explains in PC Mag:
The FCC is taking another step in the battle against robocalls: stopping spammers from spoofing IDs in text messages and international calls.
A new proposal from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai would, in short, implement and enforce 2018’s RAY BAUM’s Act. According to the agency, the 2009 Truth in Caller ID Act prohibits misleading or inaccurate caller ID “spoofing” with the intent to defraud, but it doesn’t apply to text messages or international calls. That’s where the RAY BAUM’s Act comes in to broaden spoofing protections to texts, calls originating from outside the US, and other voice calls such as voice-over-IP (VoIP) calls.
“Scammers often robocall us from overseas, and when they do, they typically spoof their numbers to try and trick consumers,” Chairman Pai said in a statement. “Call center fraudsters often pretend to be calling from trusted organizations and use pressure tactics to steal from Americans. We must attack this problem with every tool we have. With these new rules, we’ll close the loopholes that hamstring law enforcement when they try to pursue international scammers and scammers using text messaging.”
Previously, government agencies could only enforce robocall investigations if the malicious actors were based in the US. The FTC shut down four companies in March, but US regulatory agencies currently cannot take action against overseas companies. A senior FCC official said on a press call that enforcing rules beyond US shores requires explicit congressional approval, which the agency got and is now attempting to implement with RAY BAUM’s Act.
The agency has also put more pressure on carriers in the past year to crack down on robocallers, including pushing for default free robocall blocking. Some carriers have already begun implementing this kind of service. The FCC received more than 35,000 complaints about caller ID spoofing in the first six months of 2019 alone, though officials couldn’t specify how many complaints were regarding calls versus texts.
Read more here.