As of Sept. 28, phone companies must start blocking calls from providers who haven’t told the Federal Communications Commission where they stand on protecting their customers from illegal robocalls.

Bob Sopko used to get about 20 illegal robocalls a week. You’re probably familiar with the ones that filled his voicemail box: Your car warranty is about to expire. You owe back taxes to the IRS. You can reduce your credit card interest rate. The types of scam calls go on and on.

A couple of months ago, Sopko’s phone stopped ringing so much. He gets only about five calls a week now. “They have dropped significantly for us,” said Sopko, a university entrepreneurship program director who lives near Cleveland.

Then there’s Cheryl Carstens of Sioux Falls, S.D. She gets up to 25 illegal robocalls a day. Her callers also seem concerned about her expiring car warranty, for a Toyota she’s never owned. 

What’s the difference between Sopko and…

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