Attorney General Josh Stein Fights to Stop Illegal Robocalls and Spoofing that Plague Consumers
RALEIGH, NC (October 9, 2018) — Attorney General Josh Stein today called on the Federal Communications Commission to create new rules to allow telephone service providers to block more illegal robocalls being made to North Carolinians. In addition to taking today’s action, Attorney General Stein is leading a bipartisan working group of forty State Attorneys General to tackle this problem.
“Robocalls are not only extremely annoying, they’re also a way to scam North Carolinians, including seniors and other vulnerable people, out of their hard-earned money,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “That is why I am calling on the FCC to create new rules that will allow telephone service providers to block illegal robocalls.”
The formal comment to the FCC explains that scammers using illegal robocalls have found ways to evade a call blocking order entered last year by the FCC. Despite the FCC’s order, robocalls continue to be a major irritant to North Carolinians. In the last three years, telemarketing and do-not-call complaints have ranked as either the first or second most frequent consumer complaints filed with our office. In many years, we have received more than 5,000 complaints about telemarketing and do not call violations – out of an approximate 20,000 complaints each year.
“Spoofing” allows scammers to disguise their identities, making it difficult for law enforcement to bring them to justice. One tactic on the rise is “neighbor spoofing,” a technique that allows calls – no matter where they originate – to appear on a consumer’s caller ID as being made from a phone number that has the same local area code as the consumer. This manipulation of caller ID information increases the likelihood that the consumer will answer the call.
To date, the FCC has not issued a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning additional provider-initiated call blocking. The Attorneys General anticipate that further requests for comments will take place on this subject.
Attorney General Stein was joined on the comment by the Attorneys General of Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection.
For a copy of the comment, click here.