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For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Contact:
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

50 Attorneys General form a bipartisan task force to combat robocalling

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced that he, along with the Attorneys General of Indiana and Ohio, is leading the formation of a nationwide Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force of 50 attorneys general to investigate and take legal action against the telecommunications companies responsible for bringing a majority of foreign robocalls into the United States. This bipartisan nationwide task force has one goal: to cut down on illegal robocalls.

“I’ve been leading the effort by state attorneys general to work with the federal government and phone companies to fight robocalls,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “But we’re also going to take action against phone companies that violate state and federal laws. I’m proud to create this nationwide task force to hold companies accountable when they turn a blind eye to the robocallers they’re letting on to their networks so they can make more money. I’ve already brought one pathbreaking lawsuit against an out-of-state gateway provider, and I won’t hesitate to take legal action against others who break our laws and bombard North Carolinians with these harmful, unlawful calls.”

The task force has issued 20 civil investigative demands to 20 gateway providers and other entities that are allegedly responsible for a majority of foreign robocall traffic. Gateway providers that bring foreign traffic into the U.S. telephone network have a responsibility to ensure the traffic is legal, but these providers are not taking sufficient action to stop robocall traffic. In many cases, they appear to be intentionally turning a blind eye in return for steady revenue. The task force will focus on the bad actors throughout the telecommunications industry to help reduce the number of robocalls that North Carolinians receive and benefit the companies that are following the rules.

Attorney General Stein has long been leading efforts to work with fellow attorneys general, federal partners, telecom companies, and law enforcement to cut down scam calls. In January, he filed a lawsuit against gateway service provider Articul8 for routing more than 65 million calls to phone numbers in North Carolina. Articul8 profited by allowing high volumes of calls into the U.S. telephone network, while the scammers profited by tricking hard-working people out of their money.

According to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center, more than 33 million scam robocalls are made to Americans every day. These scam calls include Social Security Administration fraud against seniors, Amazon scams against consumers, and many other scams targeting all consumers, including some of our most vulnerable citizens. An estimated $29.8 billion dollars was stolen through scam calls in 2021, and most of this scam robocall traffic originates overseas.

Here are some tips to consider when determining whether calls and texts that may be scams:

  1. Be wary of callers who specifically ask you to pay by gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency.
  2. Look out for prerecorded calls from imposters posing as government agencies. Typically, the Social Security Administration does not call people out of the blue. Additionally, law enforcement and government officials will never call you to threaten arrest.
  3. If you suspect fraudulent activity, immediately hang-up and do not provide any personal information.
  4. If you feel pressured or scared, that’s a sign to hang up. Scammers like to use pressure and fear tactics to get you to make a quick decision without thinking.
  5. If you’ve been the victim of a robocall scam, contact our Consumer Protection Division at ncdoj.gov/norobo or 1-844-8-NO-ROBO.

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

  1. Attorney General Josh Stein Commends FCC Actions to Stop Illegal International Scam Calls
  2. Attorney General Josh Stein Statement on DO NOT Call Act
  3. Attorney General Josh Stein Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Stop Robocallers From Misusing Legitimate Phone Numbers
  4. Attorney General Josh Stein Provides Update on Fight Against Robocalls
  5. Attorney General Josh Stein Shuts Down Massive Charity Fraud Robocall Operation

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