Tired of robocalls? How new technology will help quiet your phone
FORT MYERS, Fla. — There aren’t many issues that everyone can agree on in America in 2021.
Putting an end to annoying robocalls may be one of the few exceptions.
“(I get) five a day,” Aaron Martin said, sighing, in Fort Myers.
“Scam likely,” his friend Max Conoley chimed in.
“I get them a lot. I get them all the time,” Kaytlin Larson said.
“They ask me about my car’s warranty and I don’t have a car,” she added, laughing.
According to YouMail, a software company that helps block robocalls, about 26.4 billion have been placed in the United States already this year. That’s more than 80 robocalls, on average, to each person affected.
“Robocalls have been a number one complaint for many, many years,” security expert Carrie Kerskie explained.
But now, there may finally be some relief from the constant ringing.
June 30th marked the FCC-imposed deadline for phone carriers to implement what’s called STIR/SHAKEN.
No, it has nothing to do with martinis. STIR/SHAKEN is an acronym for a new technology that, in short, requires carriers to verify the caller ID information before the calls get to you.
“The new technology is to, is a way to try to help identify spoofed calls, or spoofing of caller ID,” Kerskie explained. “That’s when the bad guys will manipulate caller ID to display a different number than the one they’re actually calling from.”
Large carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T started working on STIR/SHAKEN long before yesterday’s FCC’s deadline, but there’s a remaining issue. Smaller carriers still have more time to implement the new technology.
So, while you will see fewer robocalls, it’s likely not the end of them altogether — at least not yet.
“The bad guys are always finding ways to make money,” Kerskie said. “So the minute we block one channel, they’re finding ways around or they get creative and come up with something new.”
While not all robocalls are scams, many are out to steal your money. Those are the types of calls targeted by the new technology.
Kerskie said if you don’t expect a call or recognize the number — just don’t answer. If you do pick up, she warned of three red flags indicating it’s a scam:
- There’s a sense of urgency for you to do something
- There’s a severe consequence if you don’t do something
- There’s a demand for something specific, like payment through gift cards
“I do applaud the telecommunication companies and the FCC for taking the initiative to help try to combat this with technology, but technology is not the single solution,” Kerskie said. “It’s still us — it’s still the human factor. We’re the end users, we’re the ones making the decisions. So we still need to use caution.”
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