If you have received unwanted phone calls from a suspicious number, you are not alone. It has been reported that scam phone calls jumped from 3.7 percent in 2017 to 45 percent in 2019. Many of these calls are found to be placed by scammers working overseas from call centers that are in the business of deceiving and defrauding Americans out of their money and/or personal information. Many pretend to represent known trusted organizations and use not only phone calls but make use of text messaging and robocalling.

The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 (TCID 2009) was written and passed to prevent persons using a caller ID service to knowingly “spoof” another unaware person with the intent to defraud that person. Last year, the Ray Baum's Act was added to extend the TCID 2009 to include illegal spoofing to text messages, international calls, and calls using one-way voice over IP.

Blocking of spoofing

On Thursday, August 1, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the latest of new rules to be added to battle the increase of malicious caller ID spoofing.

The new update on rules, authorized by Congress in the Ray Baum's Act, shuts down a loophole and now makes it possible for FCC to bring enforcement actions against scammers who utilize caller ID spoofing via text message, international calls, VoIP and robocalling. FCC's new rules also amend the 2018 Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that this rule change is another step to get a handle on the abuse spoof calls affect on consumers.

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Rules have already been established to allow phone companies to block spoof calls by default on consumer phones. Plus phone companies are being called upon to set-up a caller ID authentication framework that will reveal the location of any scam call. Chairman Pai revealed a proposal has been submitted to mandate that caller ID authentication be set-up if phone companies fail to implement one by the end of the year.

Support of rule changes

Chairman Pai has made combating the abuse of illegal caller ID spoofing a top FCC priority. As the groundwork for making this rule change was being laid a vigorous pushed was made to sign-up a coalition of 42 State Attorney Generals that knew strong rules had to be put in place to stop the growing number of illegal robocalls and spoofing. February 2019 FCC's data report showed that although many consumers do not fie complaints; 232,000 did in 2018.

It also reported that caller scams cost consumers $488 million in 2018. As our technology has advanced, illegal robocalls have increased. Agencies rule changes and government and state legislation must continue in order to eliminate or minimize spoofing fraud.

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