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Calling for an end to robocalls

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HARTFORD — They are automated and annoying. Disturbing you in the middle of dinner, offering you a cruise or telling you, you’re pre-approved for a credit card. Americans are inundated with half a billion robocalls every year.

Newtown’s Catherine Larson knows the irritation all too well. Her family was unknowingly given a recycled number. Over a decade, the phone calls snow-balled.

“It got to the point that last year, we were getting an average of 7 to 9 robocalls per day,” said Larson. “We were to the point when we would never answer the phone anymore.”

Larson switched carriers and was given a private number which stopped the harassment.  It’s an abuse many experience and Senator Richard Blumenthal believes is dangerous. Consumers are scammed out of $40 billion every year from robocall fraudsters who ask for personal information.

“The technology exists to stop them, if only the telephone companies offer it,” said Blumenthal.

The Federal Communications Commission received more than 200,000 robocall complaints last year. Last month, the FCC took action, giving phone companies the green light to offer consumers robocall blocking technology.

“We have now made it absolutely crystal clear, legally, that this technology is viable,” said the Federal Communications Commissioner. “We know that this technology works, and now we as consumers need to put pressure on the companies to make it available.”

The FCC did note to phone carriers, it is not looking for companies to block robocalls for public safety alerts from your town or school board.

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