The FCC's new anti-robocall rules prevent surprise charges for consumers

The commission has announced new rules to ensure carriers adopt anti-robocall measures.

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Mariella Moon
September 30th, 2020
In this article: FCC, robocalls, rules, news, gear
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Back in March, the FCC ordered all carriers and phone companies to adopt the STIR/SHAKEN protocol by June 30th, 2021 as an effort to combat robocalls. Now, the commission has announced new rules to clarify carriers’ obligations regarding the technology’s implementation. One of those new rules, for instance, protects consumers from surprise charges. To be precise, it prohibits voice service providers from adding line-item charges to their bills for caller ID authentication.

The FCC is also requiring providers to upgrade their networks if they currently can’t implement STIR/SHAKEN, which is an Internet Protocol standard for IP-based networks. Otherwise, they’ll have to develop a non-IP caller ID verification solution. That said, the FCC will give small voice providers that can’t adopt the technology yet “limited extensions,” so long as they implement robocall mitigation programs.

Americans have been getting inundated with robocalls for years, and the issue has only been getting worse. According to YouMail, which provides a service that can block those calls, people in the US received 58.5 billion robocalls in 2019. That’s 22 percent more than 2018’s. The STIR/SHAKEN protocol gives carriers a way to verify that a call is legitimate before it even reaches the recipient. It can help reduce the effectiveness of illegal spoofing, which is a technique commonly used by robocallers to fool consumers into thinking they’re taking calls from a government agency or from someone in their area.

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