STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

WAAY 31 I-TEAM: What's happening to stop robocalls?

The I-Team gets to the bottom of what the wireless companies and government regulators are doing about robocalls.

Posted: May 9, 2019 6:40 PM
Updated: May 10, 2019 12:00 PM

Our week-long WAAY 31 I-Team investigation into the plague of robocalls continues to show people in the Tennessee Valley are frustrated with the problem.

The aggravation of those robocalls has many people eager for solutions to stop the annoying calls.

At St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Huntsville, Katherine Harper is answering God’s call serving her flock. “And as a priest, there are people who call me and have my number and need something,” she told us. “So, I have to answer.”

That means answering robocalls.

“They hold up a need that might be there or they work in intimidation tactics,” Katherine told WAAY 31. “That fear strikes that chord of, ‘Oh no. What’s happening? And what do I trust in this case?’ So, it becomes challenging.”

The unwanted calls can make it difficult to turn the other cheek. “Sometimes, it’s frustrating,” she sad. “There’ll be calls from like MediCare. And they’ll say, ‘We know that you need help.’ Sometimes they’ll call for my mother who died 16 years ago. And that kind of pulls at something painful, right, like that loss.”

Katherine’s thankful her smartphone offers up at least some comfort. “I’m grateful that sometimes my phone even tells me that it’s a ‘scam likely’ call and I ignore those. And that’s helpful.”

T-Mobile told WAAY 31 it’s flagged more than ten billion calls as scam likely and blocked more than a billion scam calls over the past two years. T-Mobile was the first wireless carrier to give free scam ID and block services to its customers. Both AT&T and Verizon told us they now offer those services, too.

Many of the safeguards are automatic but give you options to turn them on or off.

That’s just the beginning of the fight against robocalls.

Alabama’s top cop, Steve Marshall, announced in December that he was joining dozens of other attorneys general in the multistate fight against robocalls. They’re pushing the FCC and phone carriers for faster action to better-use technology to stop the calls.

The Federal Communications Commission told WAAY 31 it’s actively working on a solution. It’s recommended a technology-based plan of attack called STIR/SHAKEN. The robocall-fighting technology gives phone numbers an electronic fingerprint that can be traced. If a number isn’t authentic, it won’t go through.

T-Mobile told WAAY 31, last month, it launched a feature of the technology in a service it calls “Caller verified.” Most phone carriers will comply with the new standards throughout this year. Experts say it may stop many of those annoying robocalls that chip away at your peace.

“Something little can set off other painful things and to just be present in the moment of I can end this and get back to what is more important,” Katherine told us. She reminds us this too shall pass.

“Sometimes, I make sure that I’ve updated my number on the Do Not Call Registry and then let it go to that and then have hope that one day the phone calls will stop.

Coming up Thursday night on WAAY 31 news at 6, the I-Team takes a look at what the future might hold for robocalls.

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
89° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 91°
Florence
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 92°
Fayetteville
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 88°
Decatur
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 94°
Scottsboro
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 95°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 56441

Reported Deaths: 1136
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7012170
Mobile5061140
Montgomery4599112
Tuscaloosa274353
Madison25359
Marshall205012
Shelby176425
Lee164737
Morgan13975
Baldwin134111
Walker111332
Elmore107622
Etowah106914
Dallas10189
DeKalb10017
Franklin95016
Unassigned77728
Autauga71515
Russell7130
Chambers68530
Cullman6686
Limestone6653
Butler65529
Houston6417
Tallapoosa63069
Lauderdale6006
St. Clair5983
Calhoun5545
Colbert5286
Escambia5128
Lowndes49222
Pike4805
Jackson4422
Coffee4364
Covington43512
Talladega4177
Dale4061
Barbour4022
Bullock37810
Hale36323
Marengo36111
Chilton3452
Blount3311
Clarke3236
Wilcox3158
Marion30914
Winston3095
Sumter29713
Pickens2786
Randolph2759
Monroe2683
Perry2552
Conecuh2388
Bibb2271
Macon2229
Choctaw22012
Greene2009
Henry1573
Washington1529
Lawrence1460
Crenshaw1343
Cherokee1317
Geneva1010
Fayette901
Clay892
Lamar891
Coosa671
Cleburne481
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 65274

Reported Deaths: 749
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby14163224
Davidson13976146
Rutherford375539
Hamilton353538
Sumner204056
Williamson193916
Knox171710
Out of TN166012
Trousdale15105
Wilson126117
Putnam10817
Unassigned10772
Bradley10104
Robertson97313
Sevier9244
Montgomery8247
Tipton7177
Lake6960
Macon6467
Bledsoe6311
Bedford6309
Hamblen5084
Maury4993
Hardeman4444
Madison3842
Fayette3805
Rhea3500
Blount3483
Loudon3312
Dyer3023
McMinn29319
Cheatham2873
Dickson2820
Washington2760
Lawrence2506
Sullivan2485
Cumberland2294
Anderson2112
Gibson2031
Jefferson1931
Lauderdale1934
Smith1852
Warren1590
Greene1572
Monroe1566
Coffee1520
Cocke1460
Haywood1413
Hardin1407
Obion1273
Marshall1232
Wayne1230
Franklin1223
Giles1221
McNairy1171
Hickman1120
Carter1082
Marion1014
DeKalb990
Hawkins952
Lincoln950
White933
Roane880
Henderson830
Chester810
Overton791
Weakley791
Claiborne760
Campbell721
Grundy672
Crockett653
Unicoi600
Grainger590
Cannon580
Carroll571
Polk570
Henry540
Sequatchie520
Jackson500
Johnson490
Humphreys482
Perry430
Meigs400
Decatur350
Morgan341
Fentress290
Scott290
Union280
Stewart270
Clay230
Houston230
Moore230
Benton161
Hancock120
Lewis120
Van Buren90
Pickett80

 

 

Community Events