Robocall a problem looking for a solution say exasperated phone users

TREDYFFRIN TWP., PA. (WPVI) -- Robocalls the mere mention can make some of us cringe.

Shawn Needham of Center City told us, "I think they are very annoying and happen at the most inopportune time when I am expecting an important phone call."

Robocalls and what government should do was the subject Thursday at a hearing by the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee held in East Whiteland, Chester County.

Several State Senators including Andrew Dinniman of Chester County listened to constituents and experts.

Sarah Frasch, the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection part of the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General, testified that Pennsylvanians received 353 million robocalls in January and February of this year.

Many robocalls are made by scammers who deliberately use spoofed or false caller ID information to target unwary victims.

The scams often try to convince targets they will face legal action if they do not pay money to an account set up by the scammers.

There are apps that try to filter out scam calls but users tell Action News they often do not flag a bogus call.

There are still do not call lists but most scammers seem to ignore them.

There was testimony today that a more sophisticated fix with the unusual acronym of SHAKEN/STIR is being tested by phone companies.

The process uses multiple phone network computers to trace originating calls. If the call can be electronically verified the receiving phone user will see a green light or verification check mark.

Stuart Discount is CEO of the Professional Association for Customer Engagement a telemarketing trade association.

He told us if the caller is using spoof information the call won't get a green light. He added, "So those calls either might be blocked by the carriers or they will show up with some other notice to the consumer so they know it is not a legitimate call."

The hope is the SHAKEN/STIR system will be operational by the end of 2019.
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