Eleven major phone companies are telling the country’s state attorneys general they’ll do more to stop robocalls.
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg says phone companies will offer call-blocking tools free to all but traditional landline users. They’ll also block calls for everyone at the network level.
Ravnsborg says the agreement will help protect phone users from illegal robocalls and make it easier for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute bad actors.
Americans get nearly 5 billion calls from scammers, telemarketers, debt collectors and others every month. The agreement echoes some steps already taken by regulators and Congress, which is working on anti-robocall bills.
The Federal Communications Commission has called on phone companies to block unwanted calls and expects carriers to not charge for the service. The FCC also calls on them to make sure caller ID numbers are real, not faked.
Going forward, the 11 phone companies will stay in close communication with the coalition of 51 attorneys general to continue to optimize robocall protections as technology and scammer techniques change.
Phone companies will work to prevent illegal robocalls by:
- Implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers.
- Making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools.
- Implementing technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source.
- Monitoring their networks for robocall traffic.
Phone companies will assist attorneys’ general anti-robocall enforcement by:
- Knowing who their customers are so bad actors can be identified and investigated.
- Investigating and taking action against suspicious callers – including notifying law enforcement and state attorneys general.
- Working with law enforcement, including state attorneys general, to trace the origins of illegal robocalls.
- Requiring telephone companies with which they contract to cooperate in traceback identification.