Consumer News

AG Derek Schmidt backs further efforts to stop robocallers from misusing legitimate phone numbers

Release Date: Nov 15, 2021

TOPEKA – (November 15, 2021) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today wrote the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of its efforts to reduce illegal robocallers’ access to legitimate phone numbers to make unending robocalls that scam people out of their hard-earned money.

Schmidt joined attorneys general from 49 other states and the District of Columbia in sending a letter to the FCC during its public comments session on proposed changes to application processes for direct access to phone numbers. The changes are designed to reduce the ability of robocallers to conceal their origins in an effort to continue their illegal calls.  

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. 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.

Today’s letter is the latest effort by Schmidt’s office to combat illegal robocall practices and protect Kansas consumers from being scammed or harassed.

In August, the attorneys general asked the FCC to require smaller telecommunications companies to implement the STIR/SHAKEN technology as soon as possible and no later than June 30, 2022. In 2019, Schmidt joined attorneys general from 49 states and the District of Columbia in reaching an agreement with 12 major telecom companies, outlining a set of eight principles to fight illegal robocalls through both prevention and enforcement efforts. The agreement included implementing technologies to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source. Portions of this agreement were later codified by Congress in the TRACED Act.

In Kansas, 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. More information is available on the attorney general’s consumer protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org.

A copy of today’s letter to the FCC is available https://bit.ly/3HozE4Q.

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