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Consumers Union of U.S. Inc.

07/10/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/10/2019 16:38

Consumer Reports to deliver petitions to FCC demanding crackdown on robocalls

CR to deliver 230,000 petitions to FCC HQ in Washington DC on Thursday, July 11, as agency hosts robocalls summit

WASHINGTON, D.C - Consumer Reports will deliver a petition representing nearly 230,000 consumers to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday, July 11, to demand the agency require phone companies to take stronger measures against harmful, spoofed robocalls. Caller ID spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity.

Consumer Reports will deliver the petitions to the FCC headquarters in Southwest Washington as the agency hosts a Thursday summit to gather information from phone service providers about implementing caller ID authentication to combat illegal robocalls and caller ID spoofing.

The CR petition calls on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to require and police phone companies' implementation of new technology to stop robocalls at no cost to consumers. While the FCC voted last month to allow phone companies to automatically block illegal and unwanted robocalls, rather than requiring customers to opt into call blocking services, the implementation of technology to block such calls is not currently mandatory for phone companies.

'It's time for the FCC to take a decisive stand for consumers and address the growing problem of these intrusive, unsolicited robocalls that have become so pervasive,' said Maureen Mahoney, policy analyst for Consumer Reports. 'If anyone at the FCC isn't certain whether stopping harmful robocalls is a priority for consumers, we are delivering 230,000 reminders. In order to address the widespread frustration and real financial damage caused every day by robocallers, Chairman Pai and the FCC should require phone companies to implement technology to stop 'spoofed' robocalls that trick consumers into thinking the caller is someone they know, or someone from their area.'

Consumer Reports' recent cover story Mad About Robocalls? offers an in-depth investigation into how the robocalls problem has reached an epidemic level in recent years, with recommendations for phone carriers and the government to address the issue.

A recent nationally-representative survey by CR found 70 percent of U.S. consumers have stopped answering their phones if they don't recognize the number or if the caller's number is anonymous. Sixty-two percent said they let most calls go to voicemail, and 53 percent said they have educated family members about potential threats and scams from robocalls and how to protect themselves.

The Thursday petition delivery by Consumer Reports and the FCC summit come as Congress considers legislation to push back against the scourge of unwanted robocalls. In May, the U.S. Senate passed a CR-endorsed, bipartisan bill to crack down on spoofed robocalls that use false caller identification information to disguise the caller's true identity. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced a new bill last month to strengthen regulations to curb robocalls.

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Contact: David Butler, Consumer Reports, [email protected]

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit membership organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For more than 80 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers' interests. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers.