Consumer News

AG Derek Schmidt: Telecom companies adopt principles to help state attorneys general protect Americans from illegal robocalls

Release Date: Aug 22, 2019

TOPEKA – (August 22, 2019) – Twelve of the nation’s largest telecommunications companies have agreed to adopt a set of principles that will help state attorneys general protect Americans from illegal robocalls, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.

“One of the most frequent topics that comes up as I travel across Kansas is the explosion in unwanted and often illegal robocalls and how we can stop them,” Schmidt said. “As I’ve said in the past, any meaningful solution must be a two-pronged approach involving both technology and law enforcement. Because technology has enabled this harassment, we need technology to help stop it, and the principles outlined in today’s agreement are a step in the right direction.”

The agreement, signed by Schmidt, attorneys general from the 49 other states and the District of Columbia, as well as representatives from the 12 telecom companies, outline a set of eight principles to fight illegal robocalls through both prevention and enforcement efforts. The companies have committed to:

  • Implement call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers.
  • Make available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools.
  • Implement technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source.
  • Monitor their networks for robocall traffic.
  • Know who their customers are so bad actors can be identified and investigated.
  • Investigate and take action against suspicious callers – including notifying law enforcement and state attorneys general.
  • Work with law enforcement, including state attorneys general, to trace the origins of illegal robocalls.
  • Require telephone companies with which they contract to cooperate in traceback identification.

The companies involved in the coalition are AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon and Windstream. The principles announced today are the result of a working group of state attorneys general working with industry representatives since August 2018. Schmidt’s office has participated in the working group’s discussions.

The attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division works to enforce do-not-call laws and protect Kansas consumers from being harassed and scammed by robocalls. The nearly 48 billion robocalls made in 2018 made them the number one source of consumer complaints to the FTC and the FCC and resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in consumer losses.

A copy of the agreement may be found at http://bit.ly/2P5WyGN.

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