• In this photo taken April 3, 2015, Eleanor Blum, 88, sits with with her dog "Cutie" to continue solving her daily crossword puzzles, as her daughter, Jeri Vargas brings her over the wireless phone at their home in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. Jeri Vargas put her elderly mother on the “Do Not Call” list years ago. So why is the 88-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease still getting several recorded phone calls a day pitching her everything from vacation cruises to medical alert devices and fire extinguishers?  (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

    In this photo taken April 3, 2015, Eleanor Blum, 88, sits with with her dog "Cutie" to continue solving her daily crossword puzzles, as her daughter, Jeri Vargas brings her over the wireless phone at their home in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles.... Jeri Vargas put her elderly mother on the “Do Not Call” list years ago. So why is the 88-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease still getting several recorded phone calls a day pitching her everything from vacation cruises to medical alert devices and fire extinguishers? (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken April 3, 2015, Eleanor Blum, 88, solves crossword puzzles, as she lets her phone go unanswered at her in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. Jeri Vargas put her elderly mother on the “Do Not Call” list years ago. So why is the 88-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease still getting several recorded phone calls a day pitching her everything from vacation cruises to medical alert devices and fire extinguishers? (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

    In this photo taken April 3, 2015, Eleanor Blum, 88, solves crossword puzzles, as she lets her phone go unanswered at her in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. Jeri Vargas put her elderly mother on the “Do Not Call” list years ago. So why is the ... 88-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease still getting several recorded phone calls a day pitching her everything from vacation cruises to medical alert devices and fire extinguishers? (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken April 3, 2015, Eleanor Blum, 88, solves crossword puzzles with her wireless phone next to her in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. Jeri Vargas put her elderly mother on the “Do Not Call” list years ago. So why is the 88-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease still getting several recorded phone calls a day pitching her everything from vacation cruises to medical alert devices and fire extinguishers? (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

    In this photo taken April 3, 2015, Eleanor Blum, 88, solves crossword puzzles with her wireless phone next to her in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. Jeri Vargas put her elderly mother on the “Do Not Call” list years ago. So why is the 88-year-... old woman with Alzheimer’s disease still getting several recorded phone calls a day pitching her everything from vacation cruises to medical alert devices and fire extinguishers? (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (The Associated Press)

Regulators consider legal question of whether phone companies can block robocalls

Industrials Associated Press

The Federal Communications Commission has been asked to consider whether phone companies could do more to stop the onslaught of "robocalls," the automated phone calls favored by scammers.

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Since the convergence of Internet and phone lines, it's become cheap and easy to blast out hundreds of thousands of calls in a matter of minutes to see who takes the bait.

The phone companies say they worry that automatic call blocking might run afoul of the law and have asked the FCC to clarify that it doesn't. They want to be able to offer call blocking services to consumers, but don't want regulators to create any hard-and-fast rules.

Consumer groups say phone companies are dragging their feet. They say most carriers could block the robocalls.