Those robocalls about scam auto warranties could soon be a thing of the past, as the Federal Communications Commission has ordered phone companies to cease carrying traffic related to the calls.
The FCC’s Robocall Response Team said Thursday that U.S. voice service providers "must now take all necessary steps to avoid carrying this robocall traffic," or regularly report how they are mitigating the traffic.
"Consumers are out of patience, and I'm right there with them," FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.
The calls are coming from Roy Cox Jr., Aaron Michael Jones, their Sumco Panama companies, and international associates, according to the FCC.
The group is allegedly responsible for placing more than 8 billion unlawful prerecorded calls to Americans since at least 2018, the FCC said, and is the target of an investigation by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and a lawsuit by the Ohio attorney general.
According to the FCC, the calls frequently include specific information about the vehicle the person receiving the call owns, which can cause them to seem more legitimate.
YouMail Inc., a developer of software that blocks the calls, told the Los Angeles Times that Americans received more than 4.3 billion robocalls in June, up 8.5% from May. Because May has one more day than June, robocalls were up 13.4% on a daily basis, the company said.
In recent years, the FCC has directed carriers to set up a system to digitally verify phone calls passing through their networks and has made it clear that providers may block calls.
The agency implemented new rules in May to prevent illegal robocalls from entering U.S. phone networks from outside the country.
According to YouMail, however, the new efforts have not succeeded in cutting down on the calls.
"The robocall volume in June 2022 was almost identical to that of June 2021" when a call authentication regulation took effect, YouMail said in a July 7 press release. "U.S. consumers have received 48.3 billion robocalls since the rule was initially rolled out one year ago."
The top robocall complaint filed with the FCC by consumers last year was auto warranty renewal calls. In 2021, the number of such complaints totaled more than 12,000, compared to approximately 7,600 in 2020, the agency said.
Other popular categories for robocalls, according to the FCC, were Social Security number phishing scams, credit scams, insurance and healthcare scams, and phony lawsuits or criminal charges.
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