Coalition of Attorneys General and phone companies partner to combat illegal robocalls
Aug. 22, 2019 (DENVER, Colo.)— Attorney General Phil Weiser today announced that a public-private coalition of 51 attorneys general and 12 phone companies have agreed to adopt eight principles to fight illegal robocalls. This agreement will help protect consumers from illegal robocalls and make it easier for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute bad actors.
“The top complaint we receive at our office is illegal robocalls. As Attorney General, I am committed to undertaking whatever steps I can to address these unwanted calls. Stopping them will require collaboration across the public and private sectors and the adoption of new technological tools to prevent scammers from engaging in this menacing activity,” said Weiser, who is a member of the executive committee of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) robocall task force.
The principles address the robocall problem in two main ways: prevention and enforcement. Phone companies will work to prevent illegal robocalls by:
- Implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers.
- Making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools.
- Implementing technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source.
- Monitoring their networks for robocall traffic.
Phone companies will assist attorneys’ general anti-robocall enforcement by:
- Helping to identify real consumers so that those bad actors who engaging in “spoofing” can be identified and investigated.
- Investigating and taking action against suspicious callers – including notifying law enforcement and state attorneys general.
- Working with law enforcement and state attorneys general to trace the origins of robocalls.
- Requiring phone companies with which they contract to cooperate in traceback identification.
Going forward, phone companies will stay in close communication with the coalition of attorneys general to continue to optimize robocall protections as technology and scammer techniques change.
Last year, Coloradans received an estimated 120 million robocalls—averaging out to more than 20 such calls per resident. According to a study in a February 2019 FCC report, nearly half of all cell phone calls in the U.S. in 2019 will be spam calls, and 90 percent of those spam calls will be from a familiar area code.
The coalition includes attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, and Windstream.