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FCC Cracks Down on Annoying Robocalls

Dinnertime might actually be enjoyable after the FCC cracks down on robocalls.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) logo is seen before the FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) logo is seen before the FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

You might get interrupted a little less during dinner by annoying "robocalls" thanks to a new FCC proposal that passed today.

"Robocall" telemarketers use machines armed with a list of phone numbers and pre-recorded pitch messages. Basically they spam you over your home telephone lines.

One way the groups making the calls avoid detection and get around consumer call blockers is to disguise their where they're calling from using "spoofed" phone numbers.

RELATED: Free service proves it can block unwanted robocalls

Besides being aggravating, the messages on the other end of the line are often from scams, like fake IRS agents and illegal debt collection attempts.

The new rules would give a little more power to phone companies and let them block obviously phony numbers, such as numbers that aren't in use or ones with non-existent area codes.

Phone companies have long been loath to block robocalls because they have regulatory mandates to complete as many calls as they can. But it's clear from mounting consumer complaints receiving over 2.4 million robocalls a month that something has to change.

"The American people have long made it clear — and industry, consumer groups, and government are unified behind them — that they want unwanted robocalls to stop," wrote new FCC chair Ajit Pai in a blog post on Medium announcing the proposal.

But your family time won't necessarily be robocall free quite yet. The proposal has to go into a period of public review before a final vote, likely later this year.

And if you'd rather cut down on robocalls today without waiting for the phone companies to do it for you you can try one of several robocall blocking services, like Nomorobo or the Digitone call blocker.