The U.S. is cracking down on fraudulent robocalls originating from overseas, and it’s having a ripple effect through Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Many call centers that provide such calls are shutting down, so clearly, the crackdown is having an impact.
FCC reveals plan to trace robocalls to call centers
In a press release, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it’s calling on phone companies that facility robocalls from overseas in an effort to trace those calls back to their sources. The agency sent letters to seven companies it calls “gateway service providers” to ask for their support in tracing calls to scammers who are responsible for sending illegal spoofed robocalls into the U.S.
The FCC contacted All Access, Piratel, Globex, Talkie, ThinQ, Third Base and Telcast. The U.S.-based companies provide services to overseas companies and serve as a gateway to bring robocalls into the U.S. from other countries. They serve as the point of entry for the phone traffic. The FCC’s letters ask the providers to work to prevent illegal robocalls from entering the U.S. from overseas.
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The FCC”s move follows an announcement from the Department of Justice about actions to halt service providers that facility fraudulent robocalls to U.S. consumers. The Federal Trade Commission also recently sent letters to 19 providers of VoIP services warning that facilitating fraudulent telemarketing robocalls is illegal.
Just how serious is the problem?
YouMail found that last year 58.5 billion robocalls were placed by call centers in the U.S. last year alone. According to Fox 17 Nashville, problems with robocalls extend beyond the annoyance of receiving calls from scammers. Technology has advanced to the point that scammers can not only spoof phone numbers but also consumers’ voices.
Last month, President Trump signed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act into law. The legislation provides more power to the FCC to call for telephone providers to work to keep robocallers from spoofing caller ID. It also limits businesses that are legally allowed to place robocalls.
Call centers in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan are shutting down
The owner of one call center in Pakistan told ValueWalk that the crackdown on international robocalls is affecting his business. Many of his competitors have already shut down due to the U.S. fight against scam robocalls. He now worries that he may have to shut down his business too. Companies in India and Bangladesh are also impacted by the new law.
The new law is affecting international call centers that also run legitimate campaigns. For example, some call centers run campaigns that provide legitimate services to consumers, but it remains to be seen how the government can accurately screen out scam calls from legitimate robocalls.