Ditch the Pitch
Department staff is available to assist with any questions at (800) 922-1594 (toll free in SC) or 803-734-4200 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding State holidays. You can also email general questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of their latest proposed rule targeting unlawful robocalls. If approved, the rule would shorten the time small service providers have to implement tools to prevent spoofing and block robocalls.
Large telephone providers had until Jun 30, 2021 to implement robocall technology to block illegal robocalls before they reach the consumer. The request to block the call can either be made by the subscriber of a number to combat spoofing or by the provider after determining the telephone number is invalid, unallocated or unassigned. “Spoofing” occurs when a scammer alters the caller ID to trick the consumer into thinking the call is from a particular person, organization or place. Small service providers, however, were given an extension until June 30, 2023 to implement the network-level blocking of illegal robocalls. The proposed rule would require compliance by June 30, 2022.
“We are hopeful the rollout of robocall blocking tools by large telephone carriers last month will result in a reduction of scam calls and related losses for South Carolina consumers,” said SCDCA Administrator/Consumer Advocate Carri Grube Lybarker. “Rolling back the small provider deadline will help prevent scammers from merely switching carriers to continue to perpetuate illegal calls.”
SCDCA saw a marked decline in robocall reports in 2020 just receiving 607, approximately 50% less than in 2019. The amount lost to scammers, however, neared $570,000, over $135,000 more than what was reported in 2019 ($432,670). From January 1- June 15, 2021, SCDCA received 421 unlawful robocall reports with actual losses of $412,000.
While the new rules will help to deter scammers, it will not totally get rid of them. Here are a few tips to help consumers avoid becoming victim to a robocall scheme:
Download Ditch the Pitch, SCDCA’s guide to guarding against scams for more ways to keep yourself safe. Printed copies are also available by calling SCDCA or visiting our website.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs aims to protect consumers from inequities in the marketplace through advocacy, complaint mediation, enforcement and education. To file a complaint or get information on consumer issues, visit www.consumer.sc.gov or call toll-free, 1 (800) 922-1594.