Robocalls have grown more sophisticated and dangerous in the scams and are a constant annoyance for Americans.
There is good news for consumers as a new a method to stop these calls is underway and set for full usage starting Thursday.
Widespread use of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) STIR/SHAKEN authentication will be required across most phone networks by June 30, according to the agency. The solution aims to require phone networks to sign off on a phone call’s ID as legitimate by originating carriers and then validated by other carriers before reaching the intended person.
What Does STIR/SHAKEN Mean?
STIR/SHAKEN is a framework of interconnected standards. STIR/SHAKEN are acronyms for the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) standards. This means that calls traveling through interconnected phone networks would have their caller ID “signed” as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers. STIR/SHAKEN digitally validates the handoff of phone calls passing through the complex web of networks, allowing the phone company of the consumer receiving the call to verify that a call is in fact from the number displayed on Caller ID.
For most Americans, a solution cannot come soon enough.
In a report released Tuesday, the FCC said that “robocalls remain a substantial consumer problem” and the top complaint.
The agency said it received about 150,000 related complaints in 2016, 185,000 in 2017, 232,000 in 2018, 193,000 in 2019, and 157,000 in 2020. So far this year, the FCC has received about 14,000 unwanted call complaints in January, 15,000 in February, 18,000 in March, 16,000 in April, and 15,000 in May.
The Federal Trade Commission also receives these complaints, totaling about 480,559 complaints in March 2021 alone, the report stated.