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Attorney General Josh Stein Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Stop Robocallers From Misusing Legitimate Phone Numbers

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, November 15, 2021

Contact:
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody today led a bipartisan coalition of 51 attorneys general to protect people from unwanted robocalls. The attorneys general wrote to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of its efforts to reduce illegal robocallers’ access to legitimate phone numbers to make unending robocalls.

“Robocallers have too many arrows in their quiver when it comes to scamming North Carolinians,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “We have to do everything in our power to make sure they can’t pretend to be legitimate callers and trick people into picking up the phone. I’m proud to work with Attorney General Moody and lead a bipartisan group of every attorney general in the country to support the steps the FCC is taking to prevent scammers from using valid phone numbers.”

Earlier this year, phone companies were 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.

Robocallers are now successfully 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.

The attorneys general 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.

Attorney General Stein negotiated the Anti-Robocall Principles in 2019, an agreement between 51 attorneys general and 15 phone companies to reduce illegal robocalls and to identify the robocallers and providers that initiate and route illegal and fraudulent calls to consumers. The principles include commitments from the companies to implement call blocking and labeling technology, to confirm the identity of customers with “Know-Your-Customer” initiatives, and to assist law enforcement in its investigations.

Attorney General Stein and Attorney General Moody are joined in sending this comment letter by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

A copy of the letter is available here.

More about Attorney General Stein’s work to fight back on robocalls:

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