My solution describes how a cooperative effort between consumers, phone services providers and the FTC can help to eliminate robocalls before, during and after they occur. It uses existing resources to report, identify and block robocalls and automated tracking mechanisms to trigger tiers of consequences for the robocallers, beginning with the unwanted robocalls being blocked from complainants’ phone numbers, progressing to suspension of the robocallers resources (phone service) and culminating, perhaps, in a notification to the FTC which may impose fines or other consequences if they deem a violation(s) has occurred.
As part of this plan, it is recommended that an area code be created specifically for telemarketers, and over time, that telemarketers be required to register with the FTC and be assigned a number with the newly created “telemarketer area code” to initiate any robocalls. Those consumers which opt out of receiving such calls, such as via the Do Not Call Registry, will automatically have those area codes blocked from calling their phones. The area codes will only be for the purpose of telemarketing, so that charities, health providers, political groups and other legal robocalls, for example, are not lumped together with illegal robocallers.
The involvement of phone service providers is absolutely essential to this solution. They would implement the technology that would allow consumers to report the robocallers, would identify the source of the call through collaborative efforts with other phone service providers, implement blocks against the robocallers to prevent calls to the complainants' phone number and other phones registered on the Do Not Call Registry, initiate a suspension of the robocallers’ phone capabilities if the complaint threshold was reached and work with the FTC in order to remove blocks from robocallers suspended phone service.
Also an important part of this solution involves consumers reporting robocalls that are received to their phones. To report an unwanted robocall to their phone number, consumers would press *2STOP on their phone either during or after the robocall, to report it. If the technology is in place to receive the report, data collection begins once the complaint from the consumer(s) has been initiated. Then, through the collaborative efforts of phone service providers and the FTC, it is only a matter of time before robocallers are identified and stopped.
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