How the phone companies can help end robocalls
We did the research and talked to the experts, and found phone companies can take steps RIGHT NOW to dramatically reduce robocalls:
- Landline phones: A free service currently available in Canada, Primus Telemarketing Guard has shown effective at blocking robocalls and is promising for U.S. customers. But phone companies here are not offering a similar service to customers with landlines.
- Internet-based phones (VOIP): Another free service, Nomorobo, is currently available only for customers with Internet-based phones like Comcast xFinity, Verizon FiOS, or AT&T U-verse. But the phone companies should offer Nomorobo or a similar free service directly to their customers.
- Smartphones: Call-blocking apps for smartphones are available online, but all the phone companies should offer this technology directly to all of their customers for free.
— Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman
|Some protections wouldn’t cost much. Carriers would need to do a relatively inexpensive software upgrade to offer robocall-blocking solutions for their smartphone and Internet-based phone customers.|
Landlines harder, but robocalls could be reduced. Protections for traditional landline users may be more difficult to provide, but phone companies do have the ability now to reduce call ‘spoofing’ – the practice of disguising the origin of robocallers. This would improve customers’ security and likely reduce the number of calls.
What we can do together
How does call-blocking work?
The technology uses computer programs to check and block incoming phone numbers against a list of confirmed spammers, or it requires callers to confirm they are humans before giving you the choice to connect the call.
The free program Nomorobo is currently available for some American consumers who use the Internet for their phone calls (VoIP), but not for standard landlines. A second technology, Telemarketing Guard, works for standard landlines but is offered only in Canada.
Technology exists right now that can stop illegal robocalls before they reach you, but few consumers have access to it. And the major phone companies refuse to offer it to you.
But with your help, we can end robocalls once and for all.
The FCC has authorized phone companies to use blocking technologies. Now we’re harnessing your outrage to demand the phone companies offer free, effective call-blocking solutions. And we’ll fight every effort to expand the use of robocalls to cell phones.
Take action here and join other consumers who are pushing the major phone companies to offer free blocking technology!
What you can do right now
Subscribe to a call-blocking service
The free blocking service Nomorobo is now available to a number of consumers, check here to see whether it’s available to you. Carriers also typically allow you to block certain numbers, but not always for free. If you subscribe, give us feedback on these services.
Consider a call-blocking device
If your telephone service does not support Nomorobo, you may want to purchase a plug-in call-blocking device. Click here for Consumer Reports’ review of these devices.
Try your smartphone’s call-blocking apps
If you have a smartphone, look into the call-blocking apps that are available. Also, Apple iOS7 and later customers can use Apple’s call blocking feature. Tell us about your experience with these apps.
Sign up for the Do Not Call list
Add your phone number to the list here or by calling 1-888-382-1222. This may reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive from legitimate companies, though it is not likely to deter scammers who frequently violate telemarketing laws. Note that Do Not Call restrictions do not apply to political campaigns, pollsters, and non-profits.
How together we can stop illegal robocalls
- Demand that the major phone companies offer this technology free to customers
- Fight industry attempts to weaken rules that regulate robocalls to mobile phones