Feds announce summit to make sure phone companies act against robocalls

WASHINGTON (WPVI) -- A recent report estimates that nearly half of calls placed to American cell phones this year will be unwanted.

On Monday, Federal authorities announced another significant step in the fight against robocalls.

The Federal Communications Commission announced a summit to help ensure that deadline is met.

Phone companies are expected to put into place far more effective caller ID authentication standards this year so consumers can know who's calling them.

In the meantime, a specific robocall scam is once again rearing its ugly head.

"Act now before your eligibility expires!" "You have been approved to lower your interest rates." Sound familiar?

Jeri Vargas says her mom has been scammed numerous times from unwanted calls.

"If I count the products that came for home repairs and services that were not legitimate, it would probably run into the hundreds or thousands," says Vargas.

In the last 12 months, consumers lost an estimated $10.5 billion dollars to phone scams and Congress is looking to take action.

"Robocalls have become the scourge for consumers. They are the consumer plague of our time," says U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

U.S. Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) adds, "The number now is 47.8 billion calls a year."

And the old "One Ring" scam is making an aggressive return. A call from an unknown number rings only once and then hangs up.

The scammers hope you call back because they then make money from the international toll that shows up on your phone bill.

So, do not return missed calls or respond to messages from numbers you don't recognize. Always independently verify any number.

And if you never make international calls, ask your phone company to disable international dialing from your account.

To protect yourself from robocalls in general, Consumer Reports advises using the anti-robocall service your phone carrier already has in place. It's known as call security or call blocking.

Also available are third-party robocall-blocking apps like Nomorobo, Hiya, and YouMail.

To read the full story from Consumer Reports, CLICK HERE.

The Action News Troubleshooters also have a way to fight back and win big money against robocallers.

A man in King of Prussia reportedly just won $33,000 dollars using the same method.
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