Attorney General Fox Urges Federal Government to Take Action Against Spoof Robocalls
In a letter sent to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Monday, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and a bi-partisan group of 28 attorneys general are urging the federal government to adopt rules that would allow telephone providers to block illegal robocalls.
The FCC has requested public comment on rules that would allow providers to block several types of “spoofed” calls, in which a call appears to be coming from one number, but is actually coming from a different number. Scammers frequently use spoofed calls to hide their identity and to trick consumers into believing that their calls are legitimate.
“Last year, my Office of Consumer Protection fielded 2,867 complaints and inquiries regarding telephone scams; a 22 percent increase from 2015,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Most of these consumer complaints involved spoofed telephone numbers, and many of them were related to the IRS scam or other scams intended to intimidate Montanans into sending money to these swindlers. It’s imperative for our nation’s telecommunications providers to have the ability to block illegal robocalls to protect consumers from falling victim to this kind of fraud.”
Currently, regulatory roadblocks prevent telecommunications companies from blocking many illegal robocalls. If the new rules are adopted, providers would be allowed to block calls coming from invalid numbers, unallocated numbers, and numbers whose owners have requested be blocked. For example, phone providers would be able to block a scammer that is using a telephone number that clearly can’t exist because it hasn’t been assigned.
The letter sounds the alarm about the growing number of telephone scam complaints across the country and supports the FCC’s proposal to remove regulatory roadblocks. As the letter points out, “legitimate businesses do not need to use any of these methods to contact consumers.”
Attorney General Fox was joined on the letter by the attorneys general of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.