Skip to content
Main Menu
Utah Attorney General
Search
Attorney General
Sean D. Reyes
Utah Office of the Attorney General
Alerts
Close
Secondary Navigation

FCC Unanimously Designates 988 as New Three-Digit Suicide Hotline

June 16, 2020

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to designate 988 as the new three-digit suicide hotline.

Currently, callers can reach the hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). With the FCC’s ruling, service providers will have a two-year transition period, with implementation of the three-digit hotline to be finalized by July 16, 2022. During this transition, all crisis calls to the hotline should continue to be directed to the current, 10-digit number. After the transition is completed, callers will still be able to reach the hotline by calling the 10-digit number.  

The designation of the three-digit hotline comes at a time when it is needed most. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Utah, suicide is the 7th leading cause of death, putting Utah with the 6th highest rate of suicide in the nation.

The idea for a three-digit suicide prevention hotline was first conceived right here in Utah. Utah Senator Dan Thatcher first proposed the idea for a three-digit suicide prevention line in 2012, but it didn’t gain traction in the Legislature at that time. Senator Thatcher partnered with the Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, Wade Farraway, Missy Larsen, and others at the Utah Attorney General’s Office in 2014. The group started the SafeUT app as a way to reach Utahns in crisis while still campaigning for the three-digit number. In 2017, the group enlisted the help of Rep. Chris Stewart and Sen. Orrin Hatch, who presented the idea on the federal level. This has led to the designation of the three-digit number 988.

We are grateful for our partners for working diligently with the Utah Attorney General’s Office to get a three-digit crisis line off the ground and to the FCC for prioritizing suicide prevention.

If you or someone you know is struggling and/or having thoughts of suicide, please reach out. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741), or message a trained crisis counselor through the SafeUT app. These support lines are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Read the FCC’s press release here.

Attorney General Reyes Continues Work With FCC to Expose Illegal Robocallers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2020

EXPOSING ILLEGAL ROBOCALLERS: UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL REYES CONTINUES WORK WITH FCC ON TRACED ACT ENFORCEMENT

SALT LAKE CITY– Attorney General Sean Reyes is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to continue the focus on ‘tracing back’ illegal robocalls at their source, using collaboration among state attorneys general and telecom companies and in partnership with the State Attorneys General Robocall Working Group on this issue.

Under the TRACED Act, which became law in December 2019, the FCC will select a single registered association to manage the work to trace back illegal robocalls. Because a call can pass through the networks of many telecom companies before reaching its destination, tracing that call—which is key to enforcing our laws against illegal robocallers—requires collaboration among telecom companies and state attorneys general. In their comments, the States note that traceback investigations are necessary for law enforcement to identify and investigate illegal robocallers and expose voice service providers that assist and facilitate illegal robocallers more efficiently.

For the last few years, state attorneys general have encouraged the telecom industry to increase the number and speed of traceback investigations each month. Many telecom companies have joined this effort and are working hard to stop illegal robocallers. Traceback investigations are more urgent than ever because of coronavirus-related robocall scams, including scams related to coronavirus relief checks, pitches for coronavirus test kits, health plans offering coronavirus testing, work-from-home offers preying on job-seekers, and scams offering relief on utility bills, student loans, taxes, or other debt.  

Since 2018, Utah has been a member of a coalition of states working with the telecom industry to attack the scourge of robocalls in a comprehensive way by implementing common-sense business practices to minimize illegal robocalls and trace these calls back to their source. Attorney General Reyes is joined in submitting today’s comments by the Attorneys General of 52 States and Territories.

A copy of the comments is available here.

###

FCC Votes to Proceed Designation of 988 as New Suicide Prevention Hotline Number

December 13, 2019

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to proceed with the process of designating 988 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit number dedicated as a suicide prevention and mental health crisis line. This number will replace the current, 12-digit number 1-800-273-8255.

“This designation will help ease access to crisis services, reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health condition, and ultimately save lives,” the FCC said in a release Thursday.

This decision follows a report the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Economics and Analytics sent to Congress in August recommending a 3-digit dialing code as the crisis hotline. The report noted a more than 20% increase in suicides in over most of the nation from 1999 to 2019. It also noted increasing suicide rates in Veterans and the LGBTQ community.

“This is 911 for mental and behavioral crises. And this emergency number started right here in Utah, with amazing partners like Senator Daniel Thatcher and this office demanding more be done to address the alarming suicide rates in this nation,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes.

“We couldn’t get it passed at the state level, so we pushed to the federal level. Senator Hatch and Congressman Stewart were our champions. It’s amazing to finally see it come to fruition. It is one of the achievements in public service of which I am most proud.

“A simplified three-digit suicide and mental and behavioral health hotline will make a huge difference when it comes to intervention and prevention. It will save lives! No doubt,” Attorney General Reyes added.

All telecommunication carriers and interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol service providers must implement the 988 number within the next 18 months.

The Commission will begin taking public comment on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking following publication in the Federal Register. Following review of that public record, the Commission will move toward final rules.

The change to the 988 hotline will not be implemented for several months. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or contemplating suicide, please use the SafeUT app to speak with a crisis counselor for free or call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

FCC Recommends Three-Digit Crisis Hotline

August 16, 2019

Following five and a half years of hard work and perseverance by the Utah Attorney General’s Office and Utah state and federal legislators, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to move forward with changing the ten-digit national suicide hotline to a three-digit number – 988. The hotline will also be available to those who are struggling with mental health crises of any kind.

Yesterday afternoon, the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Economics and Analytics announced that they sent a report to Congress which recommends that the Commission consider designating 988 as a replacement to the current number, 1-800-273-8255.

This follows the 2018 report on the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018 which recommended that a three-digit number should be used for the crisis hotline. Suicide and mental health numbers have increased over the years, causing an influx of callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. According to the FCC, 2.2 million people called the hotline in 2018.

“Our team found that a 3-digit number would make it easier for Americans in crisis to reach someone who could help,” Ajit Pai, the FCC’s chairman, said in an email statement on Thursday night. “If we can stand up ‘988’ nationwide as a way to access suicide prevention services, we believe it could save lives. I’ll do everything I can to move this forward.”

Utah Senator Dan Thatcher first conceived the idea for a three-digit suicide prevention line in 2012, but it didn’t gain traction in the Legislature at that time. Senator Thatcher partnered with the Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, Wade Farraway, Missy Larsen, and others at the Utah Attorney General’s Office in 2014. The group started the SafeUT app as a way to reach Utahns in crisis while still campaigning for the three-digit number. In 2017, the group enlisted the help of Rep. Chris Stewart and Sen. Orrin Hatch, who presented the idea on the federal level. This has led to the recommendation of the three-digit number 988.

The change has not yet been implemented and will have a months-long process. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or contemplating suicide, please use the SafeUT app to speak with a crisis counselor for free or call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

Utah AG Joins National Effort Urging the FCC to Take Action Against Robocalls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2019

Utah Attorney General Joins National Effort Urging the FCC to Take Action Against Robocalls, Caller ID Spoofing

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a bipartisan coalition of 42 attorneys general, calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take further action to stop the growing proliferation of illegal robocalls and spoofing.

The attorneys general delivered formal legal comments to the FCC urging the adoption of its proposed caller ID spoofing rules and enforcement. These rules specifically address calls to the United States that originated from overseas and includes spoofing in text messaging and alternative voice services. These provisions included in the FCC appropriations authorization bill are also known as the RAY BAUM’s Act of 2018.

From the comments to the FCC:

The exponential growth in unlawful scam robocalls is putting more and more of our vulnerable populations at risk. The Commission’s new rules cannot come soon enough.

“Not only are these robocalls and spoof phone calls annoying, they’re illegal,” said Attorney General Reyes. “As Attorney General, I call on the FCC to take immediate action in order to protect Utah consumers from scams that too often victimize our citizens.”
 
Francine A. Giani, Executive Director for the Utah Department of Commerce stated, “The Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Consumer Protection supports all efforts to combat deceptive spoofing, bogus text messages and illegal robocalls pinging consumers’ phones. These phony scams continue to be a huge problem where too many consumers are losing money, so let’s look for solutions.”
 
The number of spoofed calls and the consumer financial losses tied to these scams have increased by nearly 50 percent in recent years. The offices of the Utah Attorney General and the Utah Department of Commerce receive many complaints about these calls every month.
 
Robocalls increased in the U.S. by 57 percent from 2017 to 2018. Additionally, in 2018, the FCC reports that Americans received almost 18 billion scam robocalls resulting in nearly $488 million lost.
 
The coalition sending formal comments to the FCC was led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and included Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

# # #  

NOTES:
1. A copy of the comments to the FCC from the 42 state attorneys general can be found here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/FCC-Spam-Spoofing-petition.pdf.

Battling illegal robocalls & spoofing

November 19, 2018

Illegal robocalls and spoofing have cost Americans billions of dollars in fraudulent claims. According to a study by Truecaller, Americans lost $9.5 billion in 2017 to robocall and spoofing scams, and it’s only expected to increase. 

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined 34 other state AGs urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt rules that would require service providers to block illegally spoofed calls or help identify a potential scam for consumers. In the letter, the state AGs reaffirmed their commitment to providing public education, responding to consumer complaints, and taking appropriate action when needed – but it’s not enough. The AGs strongly recommended the FCC explore ways to identify technology that could combat fraudulent calls and utilize every tool available to help protect Americans. 

You can read the letter from the AGs here: A Letter to the FCC About Robocalls.

Deputy Attorney General David Sonnenreich had the opportunity to visit with Lori Prichard of KSL-TV on behalf of the Office of the Utah Attorney General to discuss robocalls, steps federal and state leaders are taking, and what you can do in the meantime to protect yourself. 

You can find more information on the FCC’s push to combat robocalls and spoofing and tips to protect yourself here

Photo by rawpixel

Site SettingsSettings