Your phone carrier can now block robocalls by default

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Robocalls are flooding cell phones, interrupting dinners, and scamming people out of money. Relief could finally be on the horizon, but perhaps at a cost....

Posted: Jun 7, 2019 8:07 AM

Robocalls are flooding cell phones, interrupting dinners, and scamming people out of money. Relief could finally be on the horizon, but perhaps at a cost.

The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to give wireless carriers like Verizon the green light to block unwanted robocalls automatically for all customers. The move could curb a torrent of phone-based scams and unwelcome interruptions that have afflicted millions of consumers, said the FCC.

The vote clears the way for carriers to switch on robocall-blocking technologies for phone lines by default. The technology works by using algorithms and network scanning to identify unwanted calls, similar to how email providers scan for spam messages.

Carriers that switch on such technologies will be required to let customers opt out of the programs if they wish and continue receiving all calls.

Americans now receive roughly 5 billion robocalls per month, according to industry research. Robocalls are automated phone calls people receive that often show up on caller ID as nearby phone numbers, or sometimes even their own number. While some robocalls are legal and come from legitimate institutions like banks, schools or medical providers, a vast share come from scammers and foreign sources.

The decision by the FCC will extend robocall protections to consumers who weren't aware they could sign up for them previously, according to agency chairman Ajit Pai.

"There is one thing in our country today that unites Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, socialists and libertarians, vegetarians and carnivores, Ohio State and Michigan fans: It is that they are sick and tired of being bombarded by unwanted robocalls," said Pai. "My message to the American people today is simple. We hear you, and we are on your side."

But questions remain about whether consumers may have to pay for such services, should carriers ultimately activate them.

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said he will have "serious concerns" if carriers begin to charge their customers for robocall blocking. Jessica Rosenworcel, another agency commissioner, said she partly objected to Thursday's decision because it does not require robocall blocking to be provided for free.

"There is nothing here that prevents companies from charging each of us whatever additional fees they want to put this call blocking technology on our line," Rosenworcel said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
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