Regulators give phone companies new tools to fight robocalls

FILE - This Aug. 1, 2017, file photo, shows a call log displayed via an AT&T app on a cellphone in Orlando, Fla. New tools are coming to help fight robocall scams, but don’t expect unwanted calls to disappear. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
FILE - In this May 4, 2018, file photo a man talks on the phone in a hallway adorned with the palm tree-printed wallpaper at a hotel near the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles. New tools are coming to help fight robocall scams, but don’t expect unwanted calls to disappear. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

NEW YORK — The Latest on fighting robocalls (all times local):

11:15 a.m.

Federal regulators are giving phone companies the right to block unwanted calls without getting customers' permission first.

Thursday's vote by the Federal Communications Commission could make call-blocking widespread and help consumers dodge annoying robocalls.

The agency expects phone companies to offer these tools for free. But it doesn't require them to do so. Consumers can also "opt out" and ask their company not to block anything.

As the robocall problem has exploded, Congress is taking steps, too. A bill passed by the Senate would require phone companies to do more, but it's not a cure-all. It still needs House approval, where Democrats in charge have their own bills that go further.

Even if all steps work, there are already concerns that scammers will figure out how to bypass them.

3 a.m.

Is the world getting safer from robocalls? It's not clear.

The Federal Communications Commission plans to vote Thursday on giving phone companies permission to do more against them, but they aren't requiring it — yet.

A bill passed by the Senate would mandate next steps companies must take — but it's not a cure-all. And it needs House approval.

There are already concerns that scammers can outwit the latest moves in the arms race.

The robocall problem has exploded because cheap software makes it easy to make mass calls. Phone scams have cost victims millions of dollars. Enforcement against illegal callers is negligible.

New tools are coming to fight robocalls, but don't expect unwanted calls to disappear entirely.

People also read these

2 injured, fire contained on docked Tahoe paddle...

Aug 17, 2016

Fire ripped through the second deck of a docked tourist cruise boat under repair at Lake Tahoe on...

Regulators study horseshoe crab survival in...

Aug 16, 2016

Environmental regulators studying the Delaware Bay harvesting of horseshoe crabs that are drained...

Amy Schumer opens book tour for essay collection

Aug 17, 2016

Actress and comedian Amy Schumer has launched the book tour for her collection of very personal...

US Olympic gold hasn't made for winning bets in...

Aug 19, 2016

Rowing, shooting and judo _ the U.S. may have won big gold medals in those Olympic events but some...

NYC remembers dark chapter of Crown Heights race...

Aug 21, 2016

About three dozen people marched through a Brooklyn neighborhood following a memorial service...

In Daily Travelogue, we aim to provide rich content for the budget traveler. We only publish blog post that is informative and entertaining to add value to our readers’ user experience.

Contact us: sales[at]dailytravelogue.com