Good news! The FCC’s anti-robocall rules are now in effect. It’s welcome news if you’re sick of getting so many robocalls. I know personally I don’t answer any calls from numbers I don’t know, but even getting those calls is enough to drive you crazy. Luckily, the FCC’s new anti-robocall rules went into affect last Thursday. The rules work with the FCC’s STIR/SHAKEN caller ID function, which allows phone companies to confirm if a phone number matches up with a call. Using STIR/SHAKEN calls traveling through phone networks would have their caller ID identified as legitimate by it’s originating carrier as well as validated by other carriers before reaching consumers. Essentially, STIR/SHAKEN digitally validates the that a call is in fact from the number displayed on caller ID.

According to the FCC, the major US wireless carriers have adopted this technology already. Some smaller carriers were given a deadline, but all should be in compliance by the fall. This essentially means calls not from validated, legitimate sources should not be permitted on wireless networks.  In April, there was a reported 4.4 billion robocalls made in the U.S.

The FCC has published the following tips for dealing with unwanted calls on their website:

  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.
  • If the caller claims to be from a legitimate company or organization, hang up and call them back using a valid number found on their website or on your latest bill if you do business with them.
  • If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls, or asks you to say “yes” in response to a question, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, live respondents, or to use your “yes” to apply unauthorized charges on your bill.
  • Be aware: Caller ID showing a “local” number no longer means it is necessarily a local caller.
  • If you answer and the caller asks for payment using a gift card, it’s likely a scam. Legitimate organizations like law enforcement will not ask for payment with a gift card.
  • If you receive a scam call, file a complaint with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center by selecting the “phone” option and selecting “unwanted calls.” The data we collect helps us track trends and supports our enforcement investigations.
  • If you have lost money because of a scam call, contact your local law enforcement agency for assistance.
  • Ask your phone company if it offers a robocall blocking service. If not, encourage them to offer one. You can also visit the FCC’s website for more information about illegal robocalls and resources on available robocall blocking tools to help reduce unwanted calls.
  • Consider registering your telephone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry. Lawful telemarketers use this list to avoid calling consumers on the list.