Apple Joining Competitors and FCC to Block RoboCalls

Apple Joining Competitors and FCC to Block RoboCalls

The technology that makes cell phones so great is also what makes them such a pain. Being always connected to your friends and family is nice, but it also means you're always available to spammers making robocalls. “Robocalls are a scourge. It’s the number one complaint that we hear from consumers on a daily basis,” according to Tom Wheeler, head of the Federal Communications Commission.

Count me in. I get such calls every day and they always seem to spoof Caller ID, pretending to be from a trusted source but usually originating in India. It costs so little now to set up a robocall system, and there's really no cost to the caller. If they get caught, they change their number or tactics. Usually they pretend to be from a credit card company, the IRS, or a Microsoft Windows service company. I've even had them say they are from Microsoft, the company! Trust me, Microsoft isn't calling people up to tell them about bugs, especially with a non-native English speaker and boiler room background noise. Whenever I get such calls, I try to keep them on the line as long as possible, figuring the longer I spend with them, that's one less innocent victim they could be talking to.

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All of this might come to an end, or at least get slowed down a bit. Apple's next iOS, version 10, is expected to have Caller ID anti-spam features, but it isn't enough. We really need the operators to get involved, so the phone call never goes through in the first place. Luckily, the FCC is on the case; and in fact, AT&T's CEO is leading the task force, along with Apple and its competitors, including Alphabet (Google's parent company.) This is a promising sign. It might not be fully realized until iOS 11.0 or later, but every step forward helps.

Top image credit: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.