Attorney General Steve Marshall on Thursday announced that 12 phone companies are adopting a set of principles to fight illegal robocalls as a result of the work of a bipartisan public and private coalition of 51 attorneys general and the phone companies.
This agreement to implement practices based on these principles is an important step forward to protect consumers, as well as to assist attorneys general in investigating and prosecuting bad actors, Marshall said in a press release.
“Abusive and illegal robocalls are among the most common and annoying problems experienced by consumers, and finding ways to combat them has presented particular challenges,” said Attorney General Marshall. “I am encouraged that this partnership of attorneys general and phone companies has resulted in meaningful progress to help provide some relief to customers of these companies. We are committed to continue the sustained and comprehensive work that will be necessary to bring about significant reforms.”
The principles address the robocall problem in two main ways: prevention and enforcement.
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 in 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.
Going forward, phone companies will stay in close communication with the coalition of attorneys general to continue to optimize robocall protections as technology and scammer techniques change.
The coalition of attorneys general, led by North Carolina, New Hampshire and Indiana includes attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The coalition of phone companies includes AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon and Windstream.