FCC Sets New Guidelines to Restrict Robocalls

FCC Sets New Guidelines to Restrict Robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently issued new guidelines designed to address the growing problem and annoyance of robocalls, those that are made with automated dialers and often use deceptive techniques to convince people to take the call.

The guidelines are designed to restrict the issue of fraudulent phone numbers that can often mask the true caller and intent.

A Growing Issue for Everyone

According to the FCC, unwanted robocalls are a massive issue. It’s the number 1 issue with consumers to the federal agency, generating nearly 200,000 consumer complaints annually. The agency estimates that U.S. consumers received about 2.4 billion such calls every month in 2016.

The proliferation of fake calls has been made simple by technological advances. It’s both simple and inexpensive for companies to create robocalls that fake the information contained in Caller ID information. Unsuspecting consumers pick up the phone expecting to hear from a legitimate number, only to be stuck with an automated call or a trigger that gets a live person on the phone, often trying to sell a product, pitch a political side of an issue or politician, or commit fraud.

The FCC cites one example where scammers identify an Internal Revenue Service phone number that does not make outbound calls. Fraudsters pretend to be IRS agents claiming to be collecting money from innocent consumers.

The new rules put the power in the hands of phone providers. The guidelines allow providers to block calls from numbers they suspect are fraudulent, without running afoul of the FCC’s other rules regarding call completion.

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Impact on Companies

The impact on companies is significant … and likely good news. It will allow phone service providers to block certain types of numbers from being able to make calls. These may include:

  • Unallocated Numbers. These are phone numbers that have not been released yet from the North American Numbering Plan, an agency that governs the release of phone numbers for 24 countries and territories, including the United States and Canada.
  • Alphanumeric Numbers. Phone numbers that contain letters or alphanumeric phrases.
  • Invalid Numbers. Scammers often use bogus numbers that contain digits or numbers that do not comply with standard formatting guidelines, such as numbers with digits all of the same number or with fewer than 10 digits.

The latest steps are among a number that the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission are taking to fight the disruptive influence of robocalls. The agencies, for example, held a forum to address what they called the “scourge of robocalls” and have issued guidelines to consumers to help them combat the issue.

For companies that manage phone networks, call centers, and may deploy legal automated calling systems, the new guidelines may seem complex. At BCS CallProcessing, we provide extensive guidance and advice for companies looking to get the most out of their phone systems, select the right technologies to maximize productivity, and maintain compliance with legal mandates such as those related to robocalls.

To learn more and to schedule a free consultation about your call processing needs, contact us today.

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