Houston - Finally, some relief from illegal robocalls may be coming. A new law means you should start receiving fewer of these calls soon.
The Federal Trade Commission reports that Americans lose $10 billion a year to scam robocalls. But a new law may finally start to hang up on them.
YouMail says 573 million robocalls in the U.S. in June were really auto warranty and health-related scams. Scammers spoof your Caller ID to make it look like a call you need to answer.
"Something like the IRS, or a big bank, or even it could come up as your neighbor, for example," said Bay Scoggin, State Director of the Texas Public Interest Research Group.
As of June 30, the FCC now requires major phone companies to use STIR/SHAKEN technology. While it sounds like James Bond's martini, STIR/SHAKEN actually confirms the Caller ID is legitimate and the phone company must enter those callers into the Robocall Mitigation Database.
Major phone companies are to block calls not in the database starting September 28. So while you should start getting fewer robocalls now, you likely won't see a big reduction until this fall.
"I think people won't necessarily see an immediate reduction in the amount of robocalls they get. But we should be more accurate about the phone calls that we're getting," explained Scoggin.
MORE SULLIVAN'S SMART SENSE
You'll still get legitimate robocalls, such as your pharmacy calling to say your prescription is ready.
And you may still get some illegitimate calls. Smaller phone companies will have a two year grace period, and scammers can establish real phone numbers.
Therefore, you still shouldn't answer calls from phone numbers you don't recognize.
"In general, if you were not expecting that phone call, do not confirm or give out any of your personal information, regardless of how trustworthy that service may be."
Other steps to protect yourself:
- Put your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Use apps like Robokiller or phone company services to block many robocalls.
- If a caller claims to be from a real company or organization, hang up and call the business back from a number on its website.
- If you are scammed out of money, report it to law enforcement and the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.