Sen. Chuck Schumer D-N.Y., has urged phone carriers to provide robocall blocking technology to their landline and mobile phone customers.

The senator is also eyeing the Federal Trade Commission to exert pressure on making carriers offer this technology, saying that he is considering crafting a law to force them to.

For Schumer, who held a press conference at his Manhattan offices last Sunday, the unwanted calls have gone from annoying to criminal.

“The ‘Game of Phones’ with robocalls has gone on far too long,” the senator said, adding that phone companies should provide the technology, whether it’s credit card firms, mortgage companies, or scammers in question.

According to the FTC, 3.57 million complaints were made against Do Not Call violations in 2015. It was up from 3.2 million the year before.

Robocalls have also become increasingly involved in bomb threats to U.S. schools, even resulting in evacuations and lockdowns last January. None of the calls turned out to be credible.

Last Friday alone, seven schools in Northern Virginia received bomb threats through robocalls, none of which were found by police investigations to be true.

Schumer warned that robocall criminals cost consumers an annual $350 million, with one recent tax scam through the medium threatening individuals in Long Island, New York, that they owe the IRS money.

He highlighted available ways to fight robocalls, including one from a firm called Nomorobo that won an FTC competition for robocall-combating technology. The senator also cited Time Warner Cable as the only company at present that has provided its customers access to the technology.

The robocall problem – now a “national epidemic” – needs to be eliminated, challenged Schumer in his presscon.

Consumers Union programs director Chuck Bell, who joined the senator last Sunday, echoed the need for phone carriers to act on robocalls and give their customers the relief they are due. It is fairly easy, he added, to launch the technology that works much like today’s email anti-spam function and filters.

Photo: Daniel Oines | Flickr

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