At a recent House hearing on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) budget, Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI-04) relayed a common consumer concern about “scam phone calls,” complaints about which his office receives “every day.” He wanted to know why the Do Not Call registry doesn’t filter the calls out and what the FCC can do to fix the problem?

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told Moolenaar and the other members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services that, sadly, “the scam artists don't respect the do-not-call list. And so, then it falls to the FCC as well to figure out ways to stop the supply so to speak of these unwanted robocalls.”

Pai insisted that the FCC has taken actions to do so, empowering telecommunications “carriers to block spoof calls that are clearly from invalid or unassigned phone numbers. We've also engaged technologists and others to come up with a call authentication standard, a digital fingerprint as you will for each phone number so that if you see a phone number on your phone, you will know that it's coming from a specific person who's specifically been assigned that number.”

The FCC Chairman also relayed the agency’s “aggressive enforcement action,” and that “the largest fines proposed in the agency's history have been proposed over the last year to go after these robocallers.”

He also stressed the agency’s efforts to collaborate with foreign enforcers because “a lot of these scam calls come from abroad” where the FCC has no jurisdiction. “We need their help and I'm glad to say that my counterparts, generally speaking, have been very supportive in doing that. This is an all-hands on-deck effort and I'm pleased to say that we are putting all hands on that deck.”