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Utah’s AG puts pressure on FCC to take on robocalls

(Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – They’re incredibly annoying and potentially harmful.  Now, the Utah Attorney General is joining more than 40 others to push the FCC to crack down on robocalls.

There are some well-known yet very effective methods that scammers use to trick people into giving up money or valuable information.  For instance, some of them will use a robotic voice, at first, to convince someone they have trouble with their credit cards or that the IRS is filing a lawsuit against them.  After a while, a live person takes over the call to get the personal data.

There’s another trick that’s becoming more popular with scammers and more worrisome for state officials.  Rich Piatt with the Utah AG’s Office says the callers will hang up after just one ring, and if you call back, you’re marked as a live target.

“You’re number is potentially given out again, and you’ll get more calls,” he says.

Then, there are the cases when scammers will spoof a number, making the victim believe it’s coming from their own area code.

Piatt says, “Calls coming from foreign countries masquerading as local calls are probably the most potentially dangerous kinds of calls that happen.”

The FCC has prioritized certain things that they want to fight against.  Piatt says the commission has proposed new rules to limit robocalls.

“These include things like new rules on call blocking and making that more effective, call authentication to make sure the calls are legitimate and ways to reduce to the number of unwanted calls,” he says.

However, those proposed rules have yet to be adopted.  Piatt says several states and even Congress has considered new legislation about these calls, but, he adds, “Everyone is kind of waiting for the FCC to see if those rules are effective before proceeding.”