US government starts 'battle against robocallers stealing BILLIONS from Americans – how to stay safe

THE US government has waged war on robocallers and spoofers who have scammed Americans out of billions of dollars.

Protecting Americans from unlawful robocalls and malicious callers is now the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) top priority, according to a new statement.

Nearly 4 billion robocalls targetted US consumers per month in 2020, according to the FCC.

Furthermore, robocalls are the number one complaint to the agency and have resulted in the theft of billions of dollars from unsuspecting Americans.

"Advancements in technology make it cheap and easy to make massive numbers of robocalls," officials said.

Therefore, the agency is committed to "using every tool at our disposal and working closely with private, public, and international partners to combat unlawful robocalls and spoofing," they added.

So, what is the FCC doing?

Most recently, the agency passed regulations targeted at overseas phone scammers via 'gateway providers'.

Gateway providers are small companies that transfer calls between networks.

They are often utilized by foreign scammers to disguise phone calls entering the US's network, CNET reported.

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However, now the FCC's newly adopted regulations require gateway providers to verify calls before passing them along to other operators in the states. 

The new actions are the latest in a long list of steps taken by the FCC to stop illegal robocalls, including enforcing fines and issuing consumer alerts.

In February, the agency also introduced a set of rules aimed at protecting consumers from automated ringless calls. 

"We’re not going to stop until we get robocallers, spoofers, and scammers off the line," FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said.

How to mitigate your risk of getting scammed

The FCC also shared some tips for consumers on how to protect themselves from robocallers and scammers

First, you should never answer calls from unknown numbers, just let them go to voicemail.

If a caller claims to be from a known company, hang up and call them back using the number found on their website.

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If you answer and the caller – which may be a recording – asks you to press a button or asks you to say "yes" in response to a question, just hang up.

Furthermore, if you answer a phone call and the caller asks for payment using a gift card, be aware that it's likely a scam.

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