I know what you're thinking. You want to know what "may see less" actually means. Does it mean that the calls will be cut in half? Less than that? Well...

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is employing some new technology that is supposed to make it harder for bad actors to "spoof" your caller ID into thinking that the number it displays is really the original number of the robocaller.

Before we get into the explanation of how it works, here are a few numbers that should help put the robocall phenomenon into perspective (sourced from PRNewswire.com):

  • Estimated number of robocalls to Americans during 2020: About 46 billion
  • When divided by 300 million, number of calls for every man, woman, and child in the US: 153
  • Number of US robocalls in 2019: 58.5 billion
  • Number of US robocalls in 2018: 47.8 billion

It's pretty strange to consider that as you drive around the Rockford area, every home you see has gotten over 150 robocalls in one year.

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Robocalls in 2020, if I have my math correct, were down roughly 22% from the 2019 high number of 58.5 billion, and even went down by one billion calls from 2018. It seems as if the numbers of calls are dropping, but are still unbelievably high. The FCC says that 4.4 billion robocalls were placed in the US in April of this year alone.

The plan and technology to slow down and/or stop unwanted robocalls is being called "Stir/Shaken" by the FCC. Here's what it means, and how it works:

STIR/SHAKEN are acronyms for the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) standards. This means that calls traveling through interconnected phone networks would have their caller ID "signed" as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers. STIR/SHAKEN digitally validates the handoff of phone calls passing through the complex web of networks, allowing the phone company of the consumer receiving the call to verify that a call is in fact from the number displayed on Caller ID.

The FCC says that the largest carriers have already signed on, and the program is in place. Smaller carriers have until the end of September to join in.

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