Attorney General Knudsen Announces Formation of Nationwide Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen today announced the formation of a nationwide Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force with 49 other states that is investigating and will 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.
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 robocalls and benefit the companies that are following the rules.
“Foreign scammers aren’t just annoying – they steal billions of dollars from consumers each year and these gateway providers may be illegally helping them to do it,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “Nobody should profit from helping overseas criminals rip off Montanans. My office will continue to keep the pressure on bad actors and hold them accountable.”
According to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center, over 33 million scam robocalls are made to Americans every day. An estimated $29.8 billion dollars was stolen through scam calls in 2021. Most of this scam robocall traffic originates overseas. The Task Force is focused on shutting down the providers that profit from this illegal scam traffic and refuse to take steps to otherwise mitigate these scam calls.
The Taskforce is an extension of Attorney General Knudsen’s ongoing efforts to stop illegal robocalls, the source of many scams. In August, they urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to accelerate its deadline for all telephone companies to implement STIR/SHAKEN technology, which helps prevent spoofed calls.
Following that, he called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require gateway providers to make it more difficult for robocalls to enter the U.S. telephone network and block any gateway provider that does not meet the specific requirements.
Last year, the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection, along with the Federal Trade Commission and dozens of agencies from around the nation, stopped a massive telefunding operation that bombarded 67 million consumers with 1.3 billion deceptive charitable fundraising calls (mostly illegal robocalls).
Attorney General Knudsen also offers the following tips to avoid scams and unwanted calls:
- Be wary of callers who specifically ask you to pay by gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. For example, the Internal Revenue Service does not accept iTunes gift cards.
- Look out for prerecorded calls from imposters posing as government agencies. Typically, the Social Security Administration does not make phone calls to individuals.
- If you suspect fraudulent activity, immediately hang-up and do not provide any personal information.
- File a Do Not Call or Text complaint here: https://www.donotcall.gov/report.html