Senator wants phone companies to offer robocall-blocking services

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), says the technology exists, even for people here in the Youngstown area.

FILE - In this July 22, 2015, file photo Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah., arrive for a classified briefing by Secretary of State John Kerry on Iran, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Schumer is breaking with President Barack Obama and will oppose the Iran nuclear deal. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
FILE - In this July 22, 2015, file photo Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah., arrive for a classified briefing by Secretary of State John Kerry on Iran, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A U.S. Senator is turning his attention to robocalls, and wants phone companies to offer robocall-blocking services.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), says the technology exists, even for people here in the Mahoning Valley.
Schumer says few carriers have implemented the service, and most consumers don’t even know about it.

He estimates there are 800 robocalls per second in the United States.
It’s a mix of scammers and spoofers–people disguising their number, so they can still get through even if the main number is blocked.
Schumer says over recent years, the number of complaints have quickly gone up.

“In October of 2010, there were 65,000 complaints by US consumers to the FTC,” he said. “Two-hundred twelve thousand in April of 2012, 305,000 in 2014. Last year, 3.57 million complaints. That’s only the people who called–and it’s three and a half million.”

Schumer points out New York-based Time Warner Cable is one company with blocking technology, but it’s for landlines, which many people don’t have anymore. He says most Time Warner Cable customers aren’t aware of the service.

Schumer has a four-point plan to make sure consumers stop getting hassled.
The first point, asking all major landline and mobile carriers to make robocall-blocking technology available.
Second, asking the companies once they make it available, to make the consumer aware, whether that’s sending a message, or a letter.

“Third, we are asking the Federal Trade Commission, which set up a competition for how to block robocalls–they’re on our side–to pressure the companies, all of the phone and computer companies, to make this technology available and inform consumers and fourth, I will introduce legislation in the Senate if the companies do not do it on their own,” he said.

While the senator works to get that plan into legislation, there is a National Do Not Call Registry. It is free and your number is never taken off the list. This service is for both cell phones and landlines.

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