FCC bans international robocalls and automated text messages with fake caller IDs

Polycount

Posts: 2,482   +549
Staff member

Yesterday, the FCC revealed in a press release that its members have voted to restrict robocalls even further. From here on out, robocalls and automated text messages that use fake caller IDs (to convince consumers to pick up the phone, or respond to a text) are banned outright.

Should any bad actors ignore this ruling and continue operating as usual, the FCC says it now has the power to bring "enforcement actions" against them. It's not entirely clear what those actions may consist of, however.

The following excerpt from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's full statement illustrates the problem:

In the first half of this year alone, the FCC received more than 35,000 consumer complaints about caller ID spoofing. Whether it’s neighborhood spoofing [or spoofing] the number of a company or government agency that consumers know and trust, scammers continue to hide behind spoofed numbers to deceive and defraud American consumers out of money and personal information...

...Today, we rely on new authority provided by Congress in RAY BAUM’S Act to update our rules to cover these additional forms of spoofing... With these changes, the FCC will be able to go after bad actors who spoof text messages and those overseas who prey on consumers in this country.

It remains to be seen how effective the FCC will be when it comes to battling robocalls, but given how much attention the topic is receiving throughout the US -- from phone companies, regulators, and consumer advocates alike -- an end to the irritating practice (or at least relief) may finally be in sight.

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Oshyan

Posts: 23   +37
I don't know why spoofing Caller ID would ever be allowed in the first place. Crazy that it took this long to act on this, but at least it's going in the right direction. Ultimately I don't think enforcement actions will fix the problem though. Only the carriers are really empowered to block this stuff before it reaches the customer, I believe. Hopefully they will do so, with legal backing from decisions like this.
 

Panda218

Posts: 671   +387
I don't know why spoofing Caller ID would ever be allowed in the first place. Crazy that it took this long to act on this, but at least it's going in the right direction. Ultimately I don't think enforcement actions will fix the problem though. Only the carriers are really empowered to block this stuff before it reaches the customer, I believe. Hopefully they will do so, with legal backing from decisions like this.
It should be rather easy to do for mobile carriers, but the PSTN network is pretty dumb and easy to trick so landlines will be a pain in the ***.
 
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dogofwars

Posts: 209   +80
They can always filter it regardless how dumb their equipments are. They just need to add a layer of complexity a sort of gateway. Too bad they cheap it out in the first place true back then they may not had the processing power to deal with this but anyway they id had more than enough time to adapt.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,323   +3,426
I don't know why spoofing Caller ID would ever be allowed in the first place. Crazy that it took this long to act on this, but at least it's going in the right direction. Ultimately I don't think enforcement actions will fix the problem though. Only the carriers are really empowered to block this stuff before it reaches the customer, I believe. Hopefully they will do so, with legal backing from decisions like this.
It should be rather easy to do for mobile carriers, but the PSTN network is pretty dumb and easy to trick so landlines will be a pain in the ***.
According to this entry in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_switched_telephone_network , the network is almost entirely digital and includes the cellular network. Therefore, it would seem there is no distinction between the landline network and the cellular network.

As I understand it, being digital in nature would have been a requirement of the PSTN when area codes in the US switched from always having a 0 or a 1 in the second digit of the area code triplet (in the US) as a 0 or a 1 in the second digit of the area code triplet is all the the analog network could handle for area codes. So it would seem that the most of the network in the US would have had to have been modernized to handle the new area codes.

I am not sure how they would do it, however, I would not be surprised if there is some sort of authenticated origin number and even when spoofing the caller id string that comes over the wire, that origin number would not be so easy to change. So, if this is the way it works, then a filter would be pretty easy to set up - if the caller id does not match the authenticated origin number, the call is blocked. Then again, I could be talking out my (expletive deleted). ;)
 
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psycros

Posts: 3,159   +3,295
All calling in the US has been digitally and centrally switched for nearly ten years now - even the last holdout local switches are slaved to bigger systems. There is no excuse whatsoever for caller ID spoofing to be possible at this point. All outgoing CIDs should be checked against a carrier database..they have the capability, they just make too much money from telemarketers and scammers. That's why they've actively resisted increased security measures for years.
 

PEnnn

Posts: 410   +345
"Should any bad actors ignore this ruling and continue operating as usual, the FCC says it now has the power to bring "enforcement actions" against them. It's not entirely clear what those actions may consist of, however."

They already have laws against not complying with the current Do Not Call list ($16,000!). And they think the new law will be a stronger deterrent?? Pathetic!

Telcos can fix this problem and the FCC should lean on them (or fine them!) till they do!!
 
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Capsaicin

Posts: 8   +5
And it only took congress just short of half a decade to do it! Blazingly fast reaction times!

I look forward to the next decade when they finally do something about tracking and profiling. Unfortunately our clueless congress thinks infinite scrolling is a a bigger problem than profiling and privacy.
 

HyperPete

Posts: 93   +41
"Should any bad actors ignore this ruling and continue operating as usual, the FCC says it now has the power to bring "enforcement actions" against them. It's not entirely clear what those actions may consist of, however."

They already have laws against not complying with the current Do Not Call list ($16,000!). And they think the new law will be a stronger deterrent?? Pathetic!

Telcos can fix this problem and the FCC should lean on them (or fine them!) till they do!!
I agree that the do not call list compliance breaches should be addressed!

Also, why is this only applicable to Internationally spoofed calls? Why not domestic calls too? Once again, a half-@ssed measure by Ajit Pai.
 

nestorius

Posts: 42   +6
I would impose the penalty of death on these spoof/scammers! You kill a few and the rest will pack up their **** and go somewhere else to annoy people!
 

TheBigT42

Posts: 416   +330
Does this mean Windows Technical Support will stop calling me about the errors they detected on my computer?