Attorney General Knudsen continues efforts to stop robocallers from harassing Montanans

Attorney General Knudsen continues efforts to stop robocallers from harassing Montanans

Attorney General Austin Knudsen today urged the federal government to take further and more aggressive action to reduce illegal robocaller access to legitimate phone numbers, restricting their ability to shield their identities and exploit consumers’ trust.

Attorney General Knudsen and 50 other attorneys general submitted formal comment in support of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposals to modify rules governing the authorization process for interconnected VoIP providers’ direct access to numbering resources to protect those resources, safeguard consumers, and curb illegal robocalling.

“We’ve made good progress in slowing down scam robocalls, but I will continue to push the federal government to act and protect Montanans from the faceless criminals attempting to steal their identity or hard-earned money through these phone scams,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “A scammer’s ability to access numbering resources makes it more likely that they will be able to successfully defraud consumers. The FCC must act to shut these scammers down.”

In an effort supported by Attorney General Knudsen, phone companies are now required to implement STIR/SHAKEN – caller ID authentication technology to combat spoofing by ensuring that telephone calls originate from verified numbers. Because the technology prevents robocallers from spoofing phone numbers, scam robocalls have dropped by 29 percent since June as the phone industry continues to put STIR/SHAKEN into effect.

However, robocallers are now evading caller ID authentication by purchasing access to legitimate phone numbers to conceal their identities. They typically do this by providing false identifying information to, or otherwise shielding their identities from, the companies that have access to legitimate numbers.

Knudsen and the attorneys general from across the nation support the FCC’s proposals to implement a more thorough application, review, and monitoring process for phone companies that request direct access to phone numbers and to require these companies to verify their customers’ identities to help keep the numbers from being sold, leased, or rented to illegal robocallers. This includes limiting the use of both temporary phone numbers for trial customers and untraceable payment mechanisms.

A copy of the letter is available HERE.

Attorney General Knudsen is committed to protecting consumers from scams and other harmful business practices. As announced earlier this year, the Montana Department of Justice joined the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in stopping a massive telefunding operation that bombarded 67 million consumers with 1.3 billion deceptive charitable fundraising calls, which were mostly illegal robocalls.

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