Prominent FCC Leaders Discuss Fraud Mitigation Strategy and Preserving Telecom’s Integrity

At the 2023 Somos Summit, preeminent public sector professionals from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) converged to shed light on a wide range of telecom-related topics. During their moderated discussion, Trent Harkrader, Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau; Alejandro Roark, Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau; and Loyaan Egal, Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, specifically focused on the FCC's efforts to combat telecom fraud.

The panel, which was moderated by Joel Bernstein, VP, Regulatory and Public Policy, at Somos, kicked off the session by acknowledging what’s at the forefront of most everyone’s minds – robocalls and robotexts. As the number one consumer complaint at the FCC, we can all probably agree that finding fraud prevention solutions demands our undivided attention. 

One individual who can certainly agree is Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, Alejandro Roark.

During the session, Alejandro Roark shared a personal experience from a recent encounter with a sneaky spoofer. In his case, the fraudster spoofed a major online retailer’s originating number and claimed to be a representative from the company. Roark shared that even he, (“someone who should know better!” in his words) got this close to being scammed out of a decent amount of money. The takeaway from his story? For better or worse, we are ALL potential targets, regardless of our background, demographic, profession, etc.

The group next delved into various FCC initiatives, including the enforcement of rules related to VoIP providers’ access to numbers and the Seventh Report and Order, Eighth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Third Notice of Inquiry. The profound impact of the aforementioned ruling was underscored by a case study presented by Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, Loyaan Egal, wherein he shared how central players of a complex auto warranty scam were recently imposed with a record-breaking $300M fine.

Transitioning to a discussion around some hot topics here at home, Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, Trent Harkrader, highlighted some of the current activities and initiatives that are being conducted by the North American Numbering Council (NANC). At a time when numbering and number exhaust is a major concern for the industry, Trent offered some of the FCC’s plans and strategies for mitigating telephone number area code exhaust. 

Next, the panelists took the conversation on a trip around the world. With a focus on how telecom fraud is being addressed on a more global scale, they provided valuable insight into how the FCC is collaborating with international organizations like the Unsolicited Communications Enforcement Network (UCEnet) to strengthen the fraud fighting offensive worldwide. 

The session wrapped up with a success story of how, through combined industry efforts and FCC engagement, the volume of Toll-Free traffic pumping has significantly dropped in the recent past. While all these wins may seem small individually, when viewed en masse, they truly show the scale of the FCC's tangible impact on reducing telecom fraud.

Overall, the FCC panel discussion at the 2023 Somos Summit provided an in-depth and insightful overview of the commission’s commitment to working collaboratively to find solutions that benefit everyone. By taking a proactive, multi-pronged approach to fraud mitigation and prevention, the FCC is leading the charge to not only eliminate robocalls and robotexts, but also ensure that there is trust in our various communications channels.

To learn more about the 2023 Somos Summit and to gain access to on-demand recordings, visit

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