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Proposed legislation targets robocalls

Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-08 22:11:29-05

Are you tired of all the spam calls you get? A new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says Americans receive more than 1,500 robocalls every second.

“I get a lot of 805 and 661 calls – areas that I do business in. I would say more than half the time they’re robocalls. It’s hard to determine what to answer and what not to answer,” said Santa Maria resident Steve Benya said.

A recent report from the FCC shows Americans receive close to four billion robocalls a month.

So how are they getting all of our information in the first place? The Better Business Bureau says some of it comes from just living in the U.S.

“Just that fact that you live in the United States means there’s a shocking amount of information that’s available on people in a number of places but really, one good way to avoid getting robocalls is to limit the amount of surveys you fill out or contests you enter,” explained Rick Copelan, President of the Better Business Bureau of the Tri-Counties.

Actively posting on public social media accounts and even filling out warranties for your new purchases could give away your information, as well.

Companies like Sprint and Verizon offer apps to limit the number of calls you get. For now, you have to pay for them, but a Verizon representative says they’ll start rolling out free spam alerting and call blocking tools next month.

One app that’s free in the App Store and on Google Play is called Hiya. It recognizes scam calls and can block them for you. There are dozens of other similar apps for free, as well.

State Senator Ben Hueso of San Diego is trying to get telecommunication companies to do more.

His bill, SB 208, would require companies to monitor and potentially prosecute those who make robocalls posing as local numbers.

He’s also is looking to have the California Public Utilities Commission and the state’s Attorney General’s office work together to punish companies that don’t stop the calls.

In the meantime, the Better Business Bureau asks that people report scam phone numbers to help build their database that works in conjunction with law enforcement and federal agencies.