You soon might be able to answer your phone calls, again

Don’t answer that! Let it go to voicemail.
That’s probably the best advice there is for coping with robocalls.
Matter of fact, it’s not only the best advice it comes from the best source — the chairman of the Federal Communication Commission.
Though it’s apparent to us, in light of the FCC and Congress stepping up on stopping robocalls, they are decreasing.
Yes, no doubt the scammers behind these calls swill eventually turn their attention to other social media.
But those schemes are more easily ignored and allow consumers receiving them time to think about what’s being requested and why.
There may be an uptick in junk mail, too, but by now most of us know the difference between it and legitimate offers.
In late May, the U.S. Senate voted 97-1 to pass the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, or TRACED Act.
That bill gives the FCC more authority to fine robocall offenders up to $10,000 per call and extends the timeframe for the FCC to find and prosecute robocall schemes after a call.
But most importantly, this legislation and the FCC’s own recent initiative requires phone carriers to begin using call authentication technologies to verify these calls are legitimate before they go to your phone.
In other words, it puts the burden on phone companies — where it belongs — to block unwanted robocalls by default, which is just fine with us. Even today most of us cannot even answer a call with confidence that a scammer or criminal is not other end of the line.
The TRACED Act is still in committee in the House of Representatives along with the House’s companion bill.
What the FCC’s efforts do is put phone companies on notice they need to also via interconnected networks validate these calls.
According to the FCC, there were 2.5 billion illegal robocalls in March alone. In most cases, callers asked for personal information or posed as someone else to scam consumers.
The FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, sounded confident in a recent interview on MetroNews’ Talkline that “there is going to be significant decrease in calls …”
Much of his confidence is predicated on carriers starting to develop robocall blocking tools which is already at work and being upgraded.
Pai also said the FCC won’t hesitate to force phone carriers to adopt ID authentication frameworks by year’s end.
The FCC estimates robocalls cost consumers $3 billion per years in lost time. And that’s not even counting financial losses to scammers. These calls go beyond just be annoying. They are criminal.
And it’s time we respond to them as a crime.

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