Attorney General Josh Stein Leads 51 Bipartisan Attorneys General Working to Stop International Scam Calls

For Immediate Release:
Monday, January 10, 2022

Contact:
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein, along with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, today led a bipartisan group of 51 attorneys general working to stop international scam calls. In a comment letter, the coalition urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to put in place measures that will help stem the tide of foreign-based illegal robocalls that attempt to scam Americans.

“Americans are bombarded with billions of robocalls every year, and many of them originate from scammers overseas,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Phone companies need to take steps to stop these calls from getting on our networks, and the FCC needs to put more requirements in place so these calls don’t scam hard-working people. I’m proud to be leading my fellow attorneys general in pushing for changes that help us fight this constant nuisance.”

The 51 attorneys general are calling for the FCC to require gateway providers – the 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. Gateway providers should be required to implement this technology within 30 days of it becoming a rule to help eliminate spoofed calls and to make sure that international calls that originate from U.S. telephone numbers are legitimate. In December, Attorney General Stein led a coalition of 51 attorneys general in successfully persuading the FCC to shorten by a year the deadline for smaller telephone companies to implement STIR/SHAKEN.

The attorneys general are asking the FCC to require these gateway providers to take additional measures to reduce robocalls, including:

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

The attorneys general are also encouraging the FCC to require all phone companies to block calls from a gateway provider if it fails to meet these requirements. Illegal robocalls are a scourge – in 2020, Americans lost more than $520 million through robocall scams.

Attorney General Stein is joined in sending this letter to the FCC by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, 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 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.

More about Attorney General Stein’s work to fight back on robocalls:

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