The number of international spoofed robocalls targeting Americans is increasing. Now, a federal agency is finally ready to take on international scammers.
Using number-generating software, spoofed calls show up on your caller ID as coming from somewhere in the U.S., even your city. This allows robocallers, many operating outside the U.S., to hide where the call is actually coming from -- and the spoofs are getting scarier.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be taking on international spoof robocalls when it meets next month. Read on to learn about the FCC's proposed plan to stop these spoofed robocalls. Also, scroll to the bottom of the story to find out what you can do for yourself to avoid spoofed robocalls.
FCC crackdown on spoofed robocalls
Government regulators trying to combat illegal robocalls say more spoofed calls are coming from overseas than ever. The FCC says that in the first half of this year, the agency received more than 35,000 complaints about caller ID spoofing.
Hopefully, that is about to change. On August 1, the FCC is expected to vote on a proposed policy that would ban the use of fake numbers in international robocalls and text messages. The FCC says their proposed policies will close a loophole that has obstructed law enforcement from going after international scammers.
This is all well and good, but remember this: The people who set up robocalls are devious and smart. They will continue to outsmart whatever rules and technology the government and our cellular carriers implement.
No matter how many times we report about robocall strategies that the FCC and wireless carriers are developing, it will be a long time before we are freed from these annoying and sometimes dangerous calls.
Take actions into your own hands to stop spoofed calls
As we wait for the government's actions to go into effect and gauge their success, you can do a few things to reduce and report robocalls right now.
A new app called Firewall blocks unfamiliar numbers right inside our phones. Firewall automatically blocks robocalls, filters spam, and redirects unknown calls to a fake number. You can also see what legitimate calls you might have missed and put them on a "whitelist" to allow them to get through Firewall. Learn more about Firewall here.
But Firewall, like any other app, is not perfect, so if you're looking for more ways to block all types of robocalls Kim Komando offers this comprehensive guide to protect yourself from scammers. The guide offers more options for robocall-blocking apps, using the tools already available on your smartphone and much more.
Robocalls are bad for your health -- 7 things you can do to save yourself
Not only are we sick of getting robocalls, the darn things really are affecting our health. According to Consumer Reports, doctors are getting frustrated because patients aren't answering their phones because they think they're robocalls ready to scam them. And there are several instances in which a doctor needs to speak to a patient, stat.