Is that really your bank calling? FCC targets spoofers


Americans are fed up with robocalls. An estimated 2.5 billion of these automated annoyances flood our phone lines each month and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to do something about it.

Read more: Ringless robocalls hit your voice mailbox without the phone even ringing once

3 new initiatives take aim at robobcalls

The scourge of robocalls is about to be targeted by the FCC.

First, the agency wants to prevent scammers from “spoofing” or making a number show up on your caller ID as something other than what it is. For instance, scammers may call you from an unidentified number that shows up as the IRS, a bank, a debt collector or a police station on your end.

By impersonating legit organizations, the scammers are more likely to get you to hand over sensitive financial info over the phone.

To that end, the FCC has voted to pursue new rules that will allow the organization to create “a reliable verification system that would prevent scam artists from spoofing,” according to a Reuters report.

Second, the FCC wants to prevent unwanted calls when you get an assigned phone number. It’s seeking public comment on how to best develop a database or other system that would allow businesses to “identify and avoid calls to reassigned numbers.”

Finally, the agency will also begin writing rules against slamming and cramming.

Slamming refers to the practice of customers being switched to different phone providers without their consent.

According to Reuters, the new rules may require a phone company to check with customers before porting an account over, instead of simply relying on another carrier’s word that the request for the move is legitimate.


Meanwhile, as longtime followers of money expert Clark Howard will already know, cramming refers to the practice of carriers pushing through phony charges from third parties onto customers’ bills. The carriers get a monetary cut of the action for every cram charge that goes unnoticed.

Until we get a better system in place, Clark advises going through your wireless bill every month page-by-page to vet out any cram charges. Or better yet, call up your carrier and tell them to block access for third party charges.

Read more: AT&T’s fraud detector app just blocked its 1 billionth scam call

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