Regulators consider legal question of whether phone companies can block robocalls

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.

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.