It's a way scammers can trick consumers into thinking it's a local call they need to here.
New York State's Attorney General and 29 other state attorney generals are calling for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant telephone providers the ability to block illegal robocalls.
The AG says if new rules are adopted "providers would be allowed to block calls coming from invalid numbers, unallocated numbers and numbers whose owners have requested to be blocked".
"It's a no-brainer that the federal government should make it easier to protect consumers against these practices". "These new rules would be a big win for ordinary New Yorkers, and a blow against scam artists across the country".
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The federal agency is proposing a crackdown on so-called "spoof calls" by giving phone companies more leeway in blocking them.
"Spoofing" allows phone numbers to change and appear to be different numbers on caller ID. For example, phone providers would be able to block a scammer that is using a telephone number that clearly can't exist because it hasn't been assigned. That makes it hard for legal remedies against abusing such methods, with scams created to imitate an urgent IRS bill or a legitimate business call.
Attorney General Schneiderman was joined by the attorneys general of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.