FCC Allows Service Providers to Proactively Block Certain Types of Robocalls

The FCC adopted new rules on Nov. 16, 2017 that

. . . allow voice service providers to proactively block certain types of robocalls that are likely to be fraudulent because they come from certain types of phone numbers, including those that do not or cannot make outgoing calls. For example, perpetrators have used IRS phone numbers that don’t dial out to impersonate the tax agency, informing the people who answer that they are calling to collect money owed to the U.S. government. Such calls appear to be legitimate to those who receive them and can result in fraud or identity theft. Service providers now can block such calls, as well as calls from invalid numbers, like those with area codes that don’t exist, from numbers that have not been assigned to a provider, and from numbers allocated to a provider but not currently in use.

According to the FCC’s November 16, 2017 press release (which can be viewed by clicking FCC Adopts Rules Allowing Phone Companies To Proactively Block Illegal Robocalls):

Unwanted calls, including illegal robocalls, are the top consumer complaint at the FCC, with more than 200,000 received annually. Some private analyses estimate that U.S. consumers received approximately 2.4 billion robocalls per month in 2016. Advancements in technology make it cheap and easy to make robocalls and to “spoof” Caller ID information to hide the caller’s true identity.

To combat these scams, the new rules approved today expressly authorize voice service providers to block robocalls that appear to be from telephone numbers that do not or cannot make outgoing calls, without running afoul of the FCC’s call completion rules.

As a result of today’s action, voice service providers will be allowed to block calls purporting to be from a phone number placed on a “do not originate” list by the number’s subscriber. They will also be allowed to block calls purporting to be from invalid numbers, like those with area codes that don’t exist, from numbers that have not been assigned to a provider, and from numbers allocated to a provider but not currently in use.

To minimize blocking of lawful calls, [the FCC’s] Report and Order encourages voice service providers that elect to block calls to establish a simple way to identify and fix blocking errors. The rules also prohibit providers from blocking 911 emergency calls.

The FCC’s “Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,” describing the new rules authorizing call blocking of certain types of numbers that do not, or cannot make, outgoing calls, can be viewed by clicking FCC Report & Order_FCC 17-151.

Have You Received Unwanted, Unsolicited or Harassing Telephone, Telemarketing, Autodial or Robocalls and/or Text Messages?

If you have received unwanted, unsolicited or harassing telephone, telemarketing, autodial or robocalls and/or text messages and would like to speak privately with an attorney to learn more about your potential legal rights, please complete the form to the right or contact Michael Yarnoff, Esq., (215) 792-6676, Ext. 804, [email protected]; John Kehoe, Esq., (215) 792-6676, Ext. 801, [email protected]; or send an e-mail to [email protected].

Kehoe Law Firm, P.C.

The Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. is a multidisciplinary, plaintiff–side law firm dedicated to protecting investors and consumers from corporate fraud, negligence, and other wrongdoing. Driven by a strong and principled sense of social responsibility and obtaining justice for the aggrieved, Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. represents plaintiffs seeking to recover investment losses resulting from securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, corporate wrongdoing or malfeasance, those harmed by anticompetitive practices, and consumers victimized by fraud, negligence, false claims, deception, data breaches or whose rights to minimum wage and overtime compensation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws have been violated.