Attorney General Schmitt today 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.
“Combating annoying, and sometimes dangerous, robocalls is an important mission of the Attorney General’s Office. Using the latest technology and working with telecom partners to control the influx of robocalls is an important way to put a halt to illegal robocalls on the front end,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Working with other attorneys general to combat robocalls is the best way to address a problem that is multi-jurisdictional and international in scope.”
Attorney General Schmitt and a bipartisan group of 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 Schmitt 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 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.
In addition to Missouri, attorneys general from 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, 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 also signed on to the letter.
A copy of the letter is available here