Steps you can take right now to slow down spam calls

Cliff Daniels, “A Better Bugman” co-owner, is used to pests.

“We take care of roaches, ants, spiders–all the general Florida bugs,” he said.

But the one pest he’s still having trouble squashing: robocalls.

Daniels first told us in May everything he’s done to combat them.

“We’ve tried different apps. We’ve bought apps, free apps, tried programming numbers into my phone,” he said.

He says it’s gotten so bad, that some clients won’t pick up for him.

“One message even said I had been blocked because I was listed as a telemarketer, which was kind of crazy,” said Daniels.

So he went back to the basics, mailing out postcards and fliers. He estimates he’s spent thousands on the old-school stationery.

But soon, he may be able to hold on to some of that cash.

FCC RULING

Over the summer, the FCC gave cell companies the go-ahead to automatically block robocalls and it’s demanding they implement STIR/SHAKEN technology, which authenticates calls to make sure the number on your caller ID is real and not a scammer.

In an August statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in part:

I’m pleased with the progress being made to implement SHAKEN/STIR, and I thank the technical teams at AT&T, T-Mobile, and Comcast for helping to advance this important consumer protection effort.  I have made clear that, by the end of this year, the FCC expects major voice service providers to meet our goal of ‘signing’ calls between carriers.  Implementation of SHAKEN/STIR is a crucial step in improving the accuracy of the caller ID information that consumers receive.  Recent announcements indicate that all of the largest voice service providers can meet our deadline—and we will be monitoring them closely to ensure that they do so.

CARRIER OPTIONS

Call providers also have apps and services to identify, stop or slow down spam calls.

AT&T began adding automatic fraud call blocking to millions of wireless lines at no charge this summer. Earlier this week, they announced the addition of three new features that make unwanted robocalls even easier to avoid. The opt-in features are available through their free Call Protect app.

Verizon offers the free app Call Filter to help detect and manage calls.

T-Mobile offers Scam Block for free to all postpaid customers and Metro by T-Mobile customers. Customers can enable the feature in their T-Mobile account, by dialing #662# from their T-Mobile phone, or in the free version of the Name ID app. They also offer customers Scam ID, to warn them of a Scam Likely call. This feature is also free and on by default for all the same customers.

Sprint offers our customers an optional, paid robocall labeling and blocking service called Premium Caller ID (PCID) for Android and iOS devices to help identify and block spoofed calls and other robocalls. That will cost you $2.99 a month.

Additionally, consumers can also add their number to the National Do Not Call Registry and Florida’s Do Not Call Registry.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services accepts complaints about spam calls and texts.

Meanwhile, just like you, Daniels says he’ll keep attacking the problem, hoping relief comes soon.

Reporter:Allison Gormly
Writer:Briana Harvath
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