By Natasha Brown


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Federal Communications Commission is cracking down on robocalls. With Americans receiving about 5 billion robocalls every month, the government took action Thursday that could lead to fewer of them.

If you are tired of robocalls, you’re not alone.

“I receive robocalls at home, in my office, on my land line, on my mobile,” FCC Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said.

“As a result, many Americans, myself included, rarely answer their cellphones unless the number is already in their contact list,” FCC Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr said.

Frustrated members of the FCC decided to do something about robocalls.

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The panel pushed through a measure Thursday that gives wireless phone companies the right to block robocalls automatically without needing the customers’ permission.

Cellphone owners will no longer have to opt in or download an app.

“It gives us an extra tool in our arsenal to go after the robocallers and the scammers,” Verizon’s Ronan Dunne said.

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Dunne says his company has already started putting out free call-blocking features, including a measure just passed by the U.S. Senate called Stir/Shaken.

It would require all calls to carry an authentic digital signature, ensuring that the number you see in the caller ID is legitimate and not a spoof.

But will it block all robocalls?

“It depends on what you mean by a robocall,” Dunne said. “There are certain calls that customers receive, say from their financial institution, maybe around the time of elections, where some may want to receive them, some people may not.”

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It’s not clear yet just how many unwanted calls will be blocked once all providers implement the technology.

But experts believe that Americans will receive far fewer spam calls than they do now as a result.

If a consumer wants to keep receiving the robocalls, they can opt out of the automatic service.

The FCC doesn’t require providers to offer the blocking service for free, but it expects them to do so.