Feb. 15 (UPI) -- "Robocalls" will account for almost half of all phone calls Americans will receive this year, federal regulators said while promising to crack down on the annoying practice.
Most major telephone service providers have committed to protocols named the "Shaken/Stir" framework to block telemarketing and other computer-generated calls by the end of this year, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Thursday.
"If it appears major carriers won't meet the deadline to get this done this year, the FCC will have to consider regulatory intervention," Pai said.
The FCC issued a 15-page report Thursday that said upgrades in automated phone call prevention technology over the last two years have successfully targeted "unwanted calls."
"No consumer wants to be bombarded by spoofed robocalls. They're a waste of time at best and a scam at worst," Pai said accompanying the report. "As this report makes clear, we're steadfastly focused on addressing this serious problem."
The report said the volume of citizen complaints rose from 172,000 in 2015 to as high as 232,000 in 2018. Since 2010, the FCC enforcement actions resulted in nearly $246 million in forfeitures, the report said.
The Shaken/Stir framework uses "digital certificates, based on common public key cryptography techniques, to ensure the calling number of a telephone call is secure," software provider TransNexus said. "The certificate technology enables the called party to verify that the calling number is accurate and has not been spoofed."
The system works effectively when all providers use the framework, Pai said.
YouMail, a third-party tracking organization, said nearly 48 billion robocalls were made in 2018, an increase of 57 percent.