An open letter to the FCC

Tom Wheeler, Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Mr. Wheeler:

The Federal Trade Commission called “Rachel from Cardholder Services” public enemy number one, yet years later these illegal telemarketing scams continue unabated. I believe that the reason the national Do Not Call Registry is ineffective is that telecommunications carriers aren’t doing their part, and consumers do not have the tools they need to help the law to be enforced.

In order to report an illegal telemarketing call one needs the caller’s phone number. It’s possible just to report a name like “Rachel at Cardholder Services” but that recorded message is used by many phone scammers and without a number, no enforcement is possible. If you ask a telemarketer for details about who they are, they hang up. Getting the phone number is made more difficult by the carriers:

1. They charge additional fees for Caller ID.
2. Callers can block their phone numbers from Caller ID.
3. Callers can spoof their phone numbers.

The second tool a consumer might want is the ability to block a number that calls them often. This too is defeated by the carriers:

1. They charge extra for blocking
2. They support blocking only a limited list of numbers
3. Callers can block or spoof their phone numbers.

I support a regulation from the FCC that would require phone companies to implement technical means to empower telecommunications users to stop illegal telemarketing. One suggestion is to implement a way to flag an illegal telemarketing call by entering *SPAM on a phone after the call ends. Such a signal would block the number for the consumer and automatically report it to the FTC. If some number of unique complaints, say 10,000, were received, the carrier would be required to block the number system wide. Other ideas may be better, but my point is that the current system doesn’t work and that consumers today don’t have the tools to deal with the problem.

About Kevin

Just an old guy with opinions that I like to bounce off other people.
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