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Stopping Illegal Robocalls Where They Start

On Point Radio takes on Robocalls

  • December 25, 2019

WBUR-Boston produces On Point Radio, a call-in program syndicated on NPR. On Tuesday (24-Dec) they invited me to be one of their guests for a show talking about -- what else -- robocalls. Also on the show were Sarah Krouse, a New York-based Wall Street Journal reported who has written a number of great stories on the topic, and Eric…

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Should the Bell Toll for Ringless Voicemail?

  • December 25, 2019

Occasionally when robocalls are discussed, the subtopic of ringless voicemail comes up. This is a technology and service used primarily by marketers and debt collectors to, as the name implies, directly deposit a message into somebody's voice-mail without first ringing their phone. Purveyors of this service, delivered primarily by two outfits, VoApps and Stratics Networks, and resold by a number…

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Fighting One-Ring Scams

  • December 24, 2019

The One-Ring Scam is a curious beast that's been around for some time and has now been highlighted in one section of the new TRACED act that's sailing through the legislative process. How it works: A scammer makes a very brief calls to a huge number of targets; he disconnects each of his call attempts after just one ring. Some…

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Federal TRADE Commission Goes After Robocall Enabler

  • December 9, 2019

The FCC is responsible for enforcement of the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), but the Federal TRADE Commission is responsible for a parallel law called the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The TSR is lengthier and in some ways broader than the TCPA, but there are significant overlaps and the two agencies have sought to align them somewhat over the years.…

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The Robocall Scourge is a Choice

  • November 23, 2019

Telephone service in our country is implemented via a few thousand different voice service providers, from giants like AT&T and Verizon (each serving over a hundred million subscribers) to small rural providers serving a thousand or fewer, to voice broadcasters and others that specialize in robocalls. While still subject to some government regulations, the providers exchange telephone traffic primarily via…

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Chairman Pai Complicit in Illegal Robocalling

  • November 8, 2019

Today, Wall Street Journal technology columnist Joanna Stern published another one of her "In the Elevator with..." videos, this time featuring Ajit Pai. And of course it kicks off with robocalls. Pai says: “All you need is an internet connection and the desire to bombard American consumers and you’re off to the races.” No, that’s not all you need. You…

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The How and Why Of Illegal Robocalling

  • September 29, 2019

Last week (25-September), Hiya held their first "State of the Call" conference in New York City. They invited me to speak, labeling my session as follows: To set the tone for the first half of the day, you will get a crash course into the illegal robocalling industry. You will learn how these bad actors get their numbers, how they…

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The Robocall Pledge

  • August 7, 2019

Last week, in conjunction with another FCC Order tweaking robocall rules, Commissioner Rosenworcel released a statement where she said, “There is no public process for holding carriers who put this junk on the line accountable.” I agree. I think the first step is for ALL carriers to adopt a Pledge whereby they hold themselves accountable for doing what they can…

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Before the Senate Special Committee on Aging

  • July 28, 2019

I was invited to testify at a Senate Special Committee on Aging. This 17-July event was their 23rd hearing on robocalls, if you can believe it. This Committee has long had an interest in illegal robocalls, because so many of these scammers target the elderly. It was a great experience for me, not just for the interactions with the Senators…

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LA Sen Kennedy Spot On w/ Q’s to FTC and FCC Chairmen

  • June 21, 2019

I’m usually underwhelmed with what I see in congressional hearings targeting illegal robocalls. But a May 7 session of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, chaired by Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, came to my attention and I was impressed. This excerpt from the hearing captures the back-and-forth between the Senator, FTC Chairman Simons and FCC Chairman Pai. I…

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