FCC pressures phone companies to combat scam, robocalls

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:57 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - According to Pew Research, 97% of Americans own a cell phone. And if you’re within that number, chances are you’ve gotten a scam or robocall. Lela Solum gets them every day.

“I get a lot of phone calls that I don’t recognize,” said Solum. “At least half of them are robocalls.”

Teresa Murray, a Consumer Watch Dog for PRIG, said it’s a problem that affects everyone.

Murray published a study Wednesday, Sept. 22, looking at how many major phone companies are complying either fully, partially or not at all with a 2019 law that requires them to act against robocalls.

“The biggest surprise is that the compliance is so disappointing,” said Murray.

Telecom companies were given about two years and a 90-day grace period to comply with the new law. The deadline is Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, Sept. 22, companies like AT&T and Verizon were just partially compliant. T-Mobile is fully compliant.

So what happens if a company doesn’t comply?

“If anybody doesn’t tell the FCC what they’re doing to cut back then they are going to prohibit them from making phone calls to anybody,” said Murray. “It’s getting real.”

She says there’s no reason a company should not comply because the numbers speak for themselves.

“We found that illegal robocall have dropped 29% between June and August and hey, that’s progress,” said Murray.

Progress welcome by Solum.

“I guess If I could stop them or they weren’t allowed to call me that would be much more pleasant,” said Solum.

Murray says, as the number of robocalls drop, the number of scam text messages rises. She says the FCC is aware and they are working on combating the issue

But in the meantime, she says, it’s best to be aware and not click on links from unrecognized numbers.

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