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Politics

Schumer Calls On Phone Companies To Block Robocalls

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer Photo Credit: File photo

The “Game of Phones” has gone on far too long, says U.S, Sen. Chuck Schumer.

The New York Democrat on Monday urged major landline and mobile carriers to make robocall-blocking services available to all consumers.

Millions don’t even know that the technology exists, Schumer said.

The senator also said that he wants the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to pressure carriers to implement robocall-blocking technology.

If they refuse, the senator said, he will consider legislation that would force them to.

Despite federal ‘Do Not Call’ rules, there were 3.57 million complaints about violations in 2015, up from 3.2 million just the year before.

Robocalls are not only annoying, Schumer said, ones that involve scams are harmful.

"The 'Game of Phones' with robocalls has gone on far too long,” he said, adding that robo-scammers cost consumers $350 million a year.

The FTC has led efforts to develop robocall-blocking technology and, as a result, Time Warner Cable Inc. has announced that it would provide its customers with access to Nomorobo, a blocking service for those with Internet-based service or Voice over Internet Protocol.

Schumer said that because such technology, like Nomorobo, already exists, other landline and mobile carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink should also offer robocall-blocking services. The technology works much like an e-mail spam box.

Nomorobo uses “simultaneous ringing,” which allows incoming calls to be routed to a second telephone line. The second line can identify and hang up on illegal robocalls before they ring through to the user.

There are also several types of similar technology on the market, including both apps and devices.

Schumer has supported federal legislation that would slap companies that continue to make robocalls with a $20,000 fine per violation and up to 10 years behind bars.

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