Texas consumer advocates hope new FCC robocall rules bring big changes

Texas consumer advocates hope an FCC crackdown on businesses behind robocalls makes a big difference for customers.

New federal regulations now in effect will make it harder for companies to use fake phone numbers to make calls. 

Americans are getting four billion of these robocalls each month, according to the FCC. That costs an estimated $10 billion in fraud each year. 

"[Wednesday] is the deadline for most phone companies to implement stricter caller I.D. technology to make sure that the calls that you're getting are actually who they say they are from," said Bay Scoggin, Director, Texas Public Interest Research Group.

The consumer advocacy group says many companies use "spoof" phone numbers with local area codes to trick people into picking up.

"Bad actors and companies engage in spoofing their calls because it makes people more likely to answer the phone number, especially when you think that phone number is coming from someone who maybe lives in your area," Scoggin said.

But now many robocalls won’t be able to hide where they’re really calling from. Advocates hope it will cut down on the calls and hold companies more accountable. 

More regulations for major phone providers will close another loophole.

"As of September, 28 phone companies must refuse to accept traffic from voice service providers, including international providers that have not filled out the information with the FCC. So those that are in noncompliance will no longer be allowed to make the phone call to you," Scoggin said.

But consumer advocates say these new rules won’t completely protect from scammers, so people still need to have their guard up.

"Don't interact with the phone calls at all. Don't push a button to try and get off the call list, because all that's doing is telling the caller that there is another person at the end of this line. So the less interaction you can make with these people as possible and always, always to reiterate, never, ever, ever confirm or give out any of your personal information on a phone call that you're not directly expecting," Scoggin said.

Advocates say you can also report the robocalls to the FCC. There is a grace period for companies to comply, but many of the larger companies have already started making these changes.

RELATED: FCC requires phone companies to confirm caller ID is legitimate to cut down on robocalls