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Federal regulators take big step in fight against robocalls

Robocall pandemonium has been a thing for a while now, with nearly 48 billion unwanted calls flooding phones in the U.S. last year alone. Now, you're about to get fewer of them.

Thursday, federal regulators passed a rule that lets phone companies block unwanted calls without getting permission first.

Last month, FCC chairman Ajit Pai was in Oklahoma City reminding Oklahomans that robocalls are a top consumer protection priority.

“We've empowered a lot of the phone companies to start exploring different technological solutions,” Pai said.

Before Thursday's ruling, some phone companies were already blocking unwanted calls with scam and anti-spamming filters, but only a few companies offer the built-in warnings for free.

In most cases, the customer has to be the one to call up their phone carrier to opt into the service.

The phone companies don't need your permission to weed out the calls. They can do it by default like your email provider does, using advanced analytics and other filtering technologies.

“If they are allowed to do it by default, then they know, okay, if we deploy this broadly, we won't have to field a lot of complaints from our own customers about these robocalls. We can stop them at their source. So, we think this could make a significant dent in the problem,” Pai said.

Only time will tell how much peace and quiet the new rule gives consumers.

As always, even with the new technology, education is still your best defense.

Do not answer calls with numbers you don't recognize because, when you do, that lets scammers know it's a live person on the other end and the unwanted phone calls will only increase.

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