' Carlino Mark Natividad | MTTLR

Scam Likely! Time for Phone Companies to Rise and Shine the Light on Robocalls

  Do you ever receive an incoming call on your cell phone only to see it’s coming from a “Scam Likely”? Robocalls, or automated phone calls usually for scam or spam purposes, have risen to approximately 85 billion calls worldwide in 2018 according to the Hiya Global Robocall Radar Report. Hiya, a Seattle-founded company that detects caller ID information to filter unwanted calls, found on average that ten percent of incoming calls were classified as nuisance or fraudulent, with seven spam calls monthly on average for each Hiya user in the United States. Given these numbers reflect Hiya users, the true number of robocalls per person may in fact be higher.   According to the Hiya report, one of the top types of robocalls in the United States is the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) Scam, in which the scam caller falsely impersonates or plays a recording of an IRS employee threatening an unsuspecting taxpayer of late or missing payments. According to a June 2019 IRS news release, “[c]riminals can fake or ‘spoof’ caller ID numbers to appear to be anywhere in the country, including from an IRS office.” The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) states that it “continues to bring enforcement actions against robocallers and has already stopped people responsible for billions of robocalls,” but the FTC only has ten cases listed on its list of cases tagged with “Robocall” since 2010. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) adopted rules in November 2017 that allowed phone companies to “proactively block” robocalls that “appear to be from telephone numbers that do not or cannot make outgoing calls.” However, the FCC...