There once was a time when telemarketers, scammers and creditors could be identified upon calling. All you had to do was look at the caller ID and see the area code and avoid the call. If it was some version of 888, 877, 866, 855 or 800, most certainly was not someone you knew or a local call.
Fast forward to today.
Now those calls you don’t want are getting through and, oftentimes, consumers are none the wiser. It’s called “spoofing.” Theses companies are able to create or “spoof” a number in your area code because they know you are more likely to answer a call from upstate New York, if you live in Brooklyn, than you are a call from South Dakota. Spoofing isn’t illegal and for a time was primarily relegated to landline phones.
Now that most people have abandoned landlines for cell phones, the companies have gotten savvier and are now spoofing calls through your mobile carrier. Until recently, consumers have been powerless to stop them.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is hoping to change this. FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, shared a plan this week that will let cell phone companies block unwanted calls to customers if passed by Congress. Released early this week, Pai’s proposal would also allow mobile users to block calls from numbers that are not in a recipient’s contact list.
In a statement, Pai says his plan “[allows] call blocking by default”. He goes on to say that this new law “could be a big benefit for consumers who are sick and tired of robocalls.” Consider The Consumer reached out to Pai for follow up, but our messages were unreturned.
Mobile carriers Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast recently committed to increasing their spam protection efforts until such law is passed, but other carriers like Sprint have not shared such plans and appear to be more reluctant. According to reports, Sprint and others are waiting for the FCC to determine the legality of such measures.
We will keep you abreast of the changes as they occur.
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About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears almost weekly for “Staggers State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!