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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

AG HEALEY JOINS BIPARTISAN, MULTISTATE COALITION CALLING ON THE FCC TO STOP INTERNATIONAL SCAM CALLS

AG HEALEY JOINS BIPARTISAN, MULTISTATE COALITION CALLING ON THE FCC TO STOP INTERNATIONAL SCAM CALLS

 

BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey has called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take steps to protect consumers from foreign-based illegal robocalls that attempt to scam Americans.

 

AG Healey and a bipartisan group of 51 attorneys general sent a letter to the FCC Monday calling for the commission to require gateway providers – companies that allow foreign calls into the United States – to take steps to reduce how easily robocalls have been able to enter the U.S. telephone network, including implementing STIR/SHAKEN, a caller ID authentication technology that helps prevent spoofed calls.

“My office hears frequently from consumers who have been harmed by robocall scams,” said AG Healey. “Not only are they invasive and unwanted, but they are draining millions from the wallets of our residents. I am joining my colleagues across the country in calling on the FCC to put the proper measures in place to protect people from these scammers.”

 

 According to the letter, gateway providers should be required to implement the STIR/SHAKEN technology and make sure that international calls passing through U.S. telephone numbers are legitimate.

 

In their letter, the attorneys general specifically ask the FCC to require all gateway providers to:

  • Respond to requests from law enforcement, state attorneys general, or the FCC’s Industry Traceback Group to trace back calls within 24 hours.
  • Block calls when providers are aware of an illegal or likely fraudulent caller.
  • Block calls that originate from numbers that are on a “do not originate” list – such as government phone numbers that are for incoming calls only.
  • Ensure that foreign telephone companies they partner with are making sure that calls are being made from legitimate numbers.

 

The attorneys general also encourage the FCC to require all phone companies to block calls from a gateway provider if it fails to meet these requirements.

 

In 2020, Americans lost more than $520 million through illegal robocall scams. AG Healey has supported measures that would reduce the amount of illegal robocalls people receive. In 2018, the AG’s Office joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general calling on telephone companies to implement technology to block robocalls, and in 2019, during National Consumer Protection Week, AG Healey also joined a group of attorneys general in issuing a letter to Congress to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act to curb illegal and harmful robocalls. In December, AG Healey and a coalition of 51 attorneys general successfully helped to persuade the FCC to shorten by a year the deadline for smaller telephone companies to implement STIR/SHAKEN.

 

The bipartisan letter was sent by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. 

 

A copy of the letter is available HERE.

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