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FCC allowing phone carriers to block robocalls

FCC to allow phone carriers to block robocalls which are oftentimes scams.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) -- Phone carriers will soon be able to block unwanted robocalls, ultimately keeping scammers away.

Channel 7 spoke with Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who, along with 29 other states, pushed for a change.

Back in July Rutledge helped urge the Federal Communications Commission to allow phone companies to start blocking many of those illegal phone calls we all seem to be the target of.

“Everywhere in Arkansas that I go, people are so frustrated with unwanted calls on their cell phones, on their home phones, so this was a priority of mine to get this stopped,” Rutledge said.

She believes the initiative will save Arkansans thousands of dollars they may have otherwise been scammed out of.

“It turns out to be a con artist claiming to be from the IRS, Publishers Clearing House, or a favorite grandchild asking for money,” she explained, adding that too many Arkansans lose their life savings to scammers.

Carriers will now be able to crack down on fake phone numbers—ones that show up on caller ID disguised as an actual phone number, but isn’t actually assigned by a provider to a user. The phone provider would then red-flag the call and block it from being made.

But it wasn’t all that easy getting there, according to Rutledge.

“Quite frankly the biggest hurdle was rolling back some of these unnecessary regulations and regulations that were an impediment to our phone providers to stop unwanted phone calls,” Rutledge said.

And even if you are on the “do not call” registry with the FCC, don’t think you’re safe just yet. Con artists and scammers don’t follow the rules, according to Rutledge; she advises people to ignore calls from phone numbers they don’t recognize.

“We’re hopeful now that the phone calls will stop, or a large majority of them will stop. But mostly we’re hopeful that the fraud that is being committed upon Arkansans will stop.”

Oftentimes if you answer those robocalls your number can be more easily targeted by even more scammers.

According to Rutledge, back in 2015 there were 31,509 Arkansans who reported complaints of robocalls. Then in 2016, that number went up to 43,988. And right now near the end of 2017, that number is 58,612.

If you’ve been a victim of or received a robocall that you believe was a scam, you can file a complaint online with the FCC here: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/stop-unwanted-calls-and-texts#rights or call 1-888-CALL-FCC.

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