5 On Your Side

States ask FCC to allow tools to block robocalls

Posted September 9, 2014

— North Carolina is among 39 states that on Tuesday asked the Federal Communications Commission to allow phone companies to use call-blocking technologies that would better protect consumers from unwanted calls and scams.

Call-blocking technologies, such as NoMoRobo, Call Control and Telemarketing Guard, have been developed to enable phone carriers to identify and block pre-recorded, automated sales calls at their customers’ request. However, some phone carriers have not implemented the technology, claiming in part that federal law prevents them from blocking calls on their consumers’ behalf.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said he and other state attorneys general are asking the FCC to recognize call-blocking filters as legally appropriate, if requested by customers.

“Each year, thousands of consumers complain to my office about annoying robocalls that hold their phone lines hostage,” Cooper said in a statement. “Fraudulent telemarketers are using technology to scam consumers and evade law enforcement, and it’s time to even the playing field and use technology to give consumers some relief.”

Last year, unwanted telemarketing calls topped the list of consumer complaints to North Carolina's Consumer Protection Division, with 5,076 complaints. Most of those were illegal robocalls pitching lower credit card interest rates, computer repairs, burglar alarms and medical alert systems. Robocalls also are frequently used to try to steal money or personal information, Cooper said.

Many consumers who get these calls have already signed up for Do Not Call Registry, indicating that they don’t want to get telemarketing sales calls. While most legitimate companies respect consumers’ wishes and abide by the registry, he said, those out to commit fraud continue to make unwanted calls, often from overseas and via robocall.

“If a solution to the nation’s illegal telemarketing problem is possible, it will require the private sector, including telephone carriers, to get involved,” the attorneys general wrote the FCC.


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  • John Murphy Sep 16, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    a robocall is just that. They call every number combination available. No one gave them your number.

  • babylaceycarpenter Sep 12, 2014

    The major fault lies with the phone companies themselves. You cannot get a number, without the phone company allowing you to have it. If they would refuse to hand out numbers like candy, it wouldn't be near as bad. I have litterally hundreds of numbers programmed into my phone, that when it rings, it says "call from, do not answer". This way, I know when it's someone I don't want or need to talk to.

  • SaveEnergyMan Sep 12, 2014

    Many of the callers are from overseas or are spoofing real numbers. Obviously the laws are not being enforced. Give us the tools to block these criminals and make it easier for law enforcement to track these calls.

  • Janet Clarke Sep 11, 2014
    user avatar

    Pleaaaassseeee!!!! Ever get the call with the cruise ship horn? Like I would seriously book a cruise with those people after my eardrums were blasted.

  • Imma Annoid Sep 10, 2014
    user avatar

    FCC is out of touch. If the technology is available, then it should be used. The same for prisons where illegal cell phone usage is rampant. The technology exists to spoof cell phones, but prisons won't use them for fear of the FCC and Feds.

  • goldeagle Sep 10, 2014

    I'd settle for being able to selectively forward calls to another number without permission. I suspect the government would not be amused. Now, what was the number of their business office?

    However, I'm not interested in funding an arms race between consumers and robocallers.

    I think robocalls are already illegal in North Carolina. Perhaps if the government enforced its laws, or empowered somebody else to do it for them?

    Such as:
    1. Disconnect phone service of originating line.
    2. Confiscate robocall equipment, and perhaps the building while we're at it. Somebody has to pay for the enforcement action.
    3. Require the phone company to operate as an intermediary where people opt in to automated phone calls, such as WRAL's weather alert or the public school system.

    The federal government's "Do not call" registry appears to be largely ineffective, but I do not question the federal government's ability to cause trouble for those they chose.

  • htomc42 Sep 10, 2014

    Block those blasted political robocalls too! Convenient how the politicians exempted themselves from the fed. law

  • Andy Hairston Sep 10, 2014
    user avatar

    Most of the numbers my caller ID says the scammers are calling from are bogus. It's easy to send a fake number on caller ID. How about a REAL, enforced, caller ID system instead?

  • Justin Case Sep 10, 2014
    user avatar

    a) Caller Id is worth the cost. b) I have a phone answering system that allows me to block 20 numbers. I just update it when the next batch of fake calls start making it through. Works pretty well. Just need phone that stores more than 20 numbers to block!

  • Rudy Bizzell Sep 9, 2014
    user avatar

    I have filed two complaints against these folks. I did my own investigating and there are phone numbers with hundreds of complaints they just go up 1 number on the last digit then gradually go up the other numbers. The phone numbers with compaints against is staggering.