Recognizing the frustration and potential danger posed by spam calls and spoofing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced new rules this week that will ban malicious caller ID spoofing of text messages and foreign calls.
The rules are designed to close a loophole in existing law that prevented the agency from pursuing scammers sending spoofed text messages and international bad actors making spoofed calls to Americans.
Earlier this summer, the FCC approved rules that could make it easier for AT&T, Verizon and other telecom giants to block suspected spam calls on behalf of their subscribers. It allows the companies to enroll consumers in their call-blocking services by default, as opposed to waiting for customers to sign up for such tools on their own.
While these changes are important steps in the fight against robocalls and spoofing, no one expects they will result in their elimination. Protect yourself by using some of the following tips provided by the FCC: don’t answer calls from unknown numbers; due to spoofing, don’t assume when the caller ID shows a local number that the caller is actually local; if you answer and the caller asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls or asks you to say “yes” in response to a question, hang up to prevent your response from being used for unauthorized charges; and if a caller claims to be from a legitimate company or organization, hang up and call them back using a valid number found online or a recent bill if you do business with the organization.
If you have lost money because of a scam call, notify your local law enforcement agency. If you receive a spam call, file a complaint with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center.