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FCC Stepping Up Its Anti-Robocall Efforts in 2021

At the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), preventing unwanted phone calls, including illegal and spoofed robocalls, is a top priority. And there is good reason the responsibility is considered so important. These annoying, intrusive and often even dangerous calls are the No. 1 reason consumers file complaints with the government agency, which is charged with regulating telephone calls and other forms of communication throughout the United States. And according to reports, U.S. consumers received nearly 46 billion robocalls in 2020 alone.

What the FCC is Doing to Crack Down on Robocalls

To combat these unwanted calls, the FCC has recently engaged in a range of more aggressive anti-robocall efforts, including:

  • Imposing substantial fines against illegal robocallers, including the largest FCC fine in history in March 2021. The $225 million fine was issued against a pair of Texas-based telemarketers who fraudulently claimed in millions of spoofed calls per day to offer health insurance plans from well-known insurance companies.
  • Issuing cease-and-desist letters in early 2021 to six U.S.-based and international voice providers known to be consistent violators of FCC guidelines regarding the transmission of robocalls.
  • Launching a Robocall Response Team in early 2021 consisting of more than 50 FCC staff members across six bureaus and offices. The team is tasked with enforcing anti-robocall laws, as well as with furthering efforts to trace illegal robocalls and authenticate legitimate calls. It also works to educate telecommunications providers and other industry stakeholders on ways to combat robocalls.
  • Formally pursuing the renewal of state-federal partnerships aimed at reducing illegal robocalls. The agencies and organizations involved include the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and the National Association of State Attorneys General.

Additionally, in an ongoing effort to prevent robocalls, the agency regularly works with telecommunications providers like FTC to enable the analytics-based blockage of robocalls before they ever reach consumers.

What Consumers Can Do to Prevent Robocalls

Consumers who believe they have fallen victim to illegal robocalls, or spoofed calls can file a complaint with the FCC via its Consumer Complaint Center. Further, to prevent robocalls and other unwanted calls to their phones, consumers can list their numbers on the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry.