The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday took action to address the issue of robocalls to reassigned phone numbers in order to reduce unwanted robocalls that consumers receive and provide clarity for responsible callers. 

The Commission is seeking public comment on the idea of creating a comprehensive resource of reassigned numbers that businesses and other robocallers, such as schools, can use to avoid accidentally calling number that are no longer used by the consumer that gave their consent to receive these calls.  

When a consumer gets a new phone number that was previously used by another consumer, businesses and other callers frequently do not learn of the reassignment right away. 

Today there is no single comprehensive resource for an up-to-date list of numbers that have been reassigned.  Thus, callers may unwittingly continue to place calls without realizing the number has switched hands.  A business or other robocaller unknowingly calling a reassigned number can annoy the new consumer and deprive the previous consumer of an expected call, said the FCC.

The Commission is asking for input on whether voice service providers should report when a number has been reassigned and how that data might be managed and utilized appropriately.  This includes questions aimed at addressing privacy and security issues.  Following this public comment period, the Commission may move forward on further actions such as rulemakings.

Robocalls and telemarketing calls are consistently the top source of consumer complaints received by the FCC.  Creation of a comprehensive reassigned number resource for businesses and other robocallers could help prevent many unwanted calls that consumers currently receive. In addition, more clarity will help callers communicate more effectively with consumers who have asked for such calls, the FCC said.