November 13, 2018 - 12:37 pm
By Patrick Webre | Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau

This November, as we pause to honor our nation's military veterans, past and present, I want to offer my thanks, on behalf of the FCC, for their service and sacrifice in protecting our nation.  While we can never fully repay the debt, we can look for ways to be of service in return.

In that spirit, the FCC is teaming up on consumer outreach with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help educate veterans about telecommunications consumer issues, particularly the scourge of illegal robocalls and the use of caller ID spoofing in phone scams that target veterans and their families.

Illegal robocalls are the FCC's top consumer complaint and top consumer protection priority. Each year we receive approximately 200,000 complaints about unwanted calls, which is a fraction of the number consumers receive.

It's our mission in the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau to educate consumers about how to avoid robocalls. If you visit our webpage – fcc.gov/robocalls – you'll find consumer tips, FAQs and online resources for call blocking and labeling to help veterans avoid illegal robocalls and robotexts, along with caller ID spoofing – which is when deliberately falsified information is transmitted to your caller ID to disguise a caller's identity. Consumers can also file complaints with the FCC about telecommunications issues.

We also publish articles in our Consumer Help Center to alert consumers to phone scams. Recently we posted an article about veterans' benefits phone scams, and we'll continue to share information on similar attempts by bad actors to defraud military veterans and their families.

In addition to providing these web resources, CGB meets with consumers at every opportunity. In early December, the FCC's consumer outreach team will be visiting rural communities in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Along the way, we'll stop to discuss consumer issues at locations where veterans gather and share tips for how to avoid robocalls, robotexts and spoofing.

The FCC is also promoting telehealth, which benefits veterans in remote locations across America. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has personally visited numerous health facilities in rural areas and heard firsthand how telehealth is providing veterans with access to treatment for conditions like PTSD and allowing doctors to save lives through quicker, more accurate diagnoses.

As we celebrate Veterans Month at the FCC, we're renewing our pledge to serve those who serve our nation, using all of the resources at our disposal in our efforts. And we thank you again for your service.