Attorney General Tong Leads Call to FCC to Expand Anti-Robocall Protections
(Hartford, CT) -- Attorney General William Tong this week led a multistate coalition of 51 attorneys general calling on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to expand anti-robocall protections.
Specifically, the attorneys general urge the FCC to require all telephone providers that route calls across the U.S. telephone network to implement more rigorous measures to prevent illegal and fraudulent robocalls from bombarding Americans.
“Anti-robocall technology works, but only if everyone uses it. Last month, our Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force issued 20 civil investigative demands to 20 of these providers that we believe are responsible for routing a majority of foreign robocall traffic into our country. It is specifically these types of gateway and intermediate providers that must take stronger action to filter out and stop fraudulent calls. If these providers are unwilling to adopt these rigorous measures on their own, the FCC must mandate it,” said Attorney General Tong.
Illegal robocalls cost consumers, law enforcement, and the telecom industry approximately $13.5 billion every year. Often, these calls originate from overseas scam actors who spoof U.S.-based phone numbers, and the FCC recently required the phone companies that let these calls onto the U.S. telephone network to do more to keep them out. The FCC is now proposing expanding many of these rules to those few phone companies that, although largely invisible to the public, are exclusively responsible for routing these fraudulent and illegal calls across the U.S. phone network, regardless of where the calls originate.
In their letter, Attorney General Tong and a coalition of 50 other attorneys general support the FCC’s proposal to extend the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN, a caller ID authentication technology that helps prevent spoofed calls, to all “intermediate” phone providers in the United States. Right now, only providers that originate call traffic are required to implement STIR/SHAKEN. The coalition also urges the FCC to require providers to adopt these protections and additional measures to cut down on illegal and fraudulent robocalls, including responding to law enforcement traceback requests within 24 hours and blocking illegal traffic, as soon as possible. If all telecom companies have the same robocall mitigation practices, bad actors will not be able to exploit inconsistencies among providers and law enforcement will be better able to identify and prosecute the bad actors who try profit from illegal robocalls.
Attorney General Tong is joined in sending this comment letter by the Attorneys General of Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana ,Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Click here for the letter.
Assistant Attorneys General Kim McGee and Lauren Bidra, legal intern Jenna Cook, and Deputy Associate Attorney General Michael Wertheimer, head of the Consumer Protection Section assisted the Attorney General in this matter.