South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson today called on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to require the telephone providers that route calls across the U.S. telephone network to implement more rigorous measures to prevent illegal and fraudulent robocalls from bombarding Americans.
“Robocalls are more than just an annoyance we all have to deal with, they’re incredibly costly,” Attorney General Wilson said. “Last year alone, U.S. consumers were bilked out of $830 million by fraud over the phone or through text messages. We need the FCC to take more action.”
Illegal robocalls cost consumers, law enforcement, and the telecom industry approximately $13.5 billion every year. Often, these calls originate from overseas scam actors who spoof U.S.-based phone numbers, and the FCC recently required the phone companies that let these calls onto the U.S. telephone network to do more to keep them out. The FCC is now proposing expanding many of these rules to those few phone companies that, although largely invisible to the public, are exclusively responsible for routing these fraudulent and illegal calls across the U.S. phone network, regardless of where the calls originate.
In their letter, Attorney General Wilson is part of a coalition of 51 attorneys general who support the FCC’s proposal to extend the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN, a caller ID authentication technology that helps prevent spoofed calls, to all “intermediate” phone providers in the United States. Right now, only providers that originate call traffic are required to implement STIR/SHAKEN. The coalition also urges the FCC to require providers to adopt these protections and additional measures to cut down on illegal and fraudulent robocalls, including responding to law enforcement traceback requests within 24 hours and blocking illegal traffic, as soon as possible. If all telecom companies have the same robocall mitigation practices, bad actors will not be able to exploit inconsistencies among providers and law enforcement will be better able to identify and prosecute the bad actors who try to profit from illegal robocalls.
Attorney General Wilson is joined in sending this comment letter by the attorneys general of every other state and the District of Columbia.
A copy of the letter is available HERE.