FCC extends robocall restrictions

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(CNN) — It’s the biggest consumer complaint made to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Unwanted calls.

Now, new rules close a loophole in the law that had prevented the FCC from going after scammers, those sending spoofed text messages and those overseas making spoofed calls to Americans.

It was already unlawful to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with criminal intent.

The new rules now extend to text messages, calls from outside the United States to those within the U.S. and additional types of voice calls.

Foreign robocallers often use caller ID spoofing, making it appear their phone number matches a trust organization they claim to represent.

Pressure tactics can then be used to defraud Americans out of money and personal information.

The new rules prohibit such malicious spoofing and allow the FCC to bring enforcement actions against those who spoof texts messages and those who seek to victimize Americans from overseas.

In 2018 the commission issued the largest fines in its history for those who violate the caller ID spoofing rules.

The FCC says some private analyses estimate that Americans received nearly 4 billion robocalls per month in 2018.

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