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Utah Continues to Work to Stop International Scam Calls

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and Department of Commerce Executive Director Margaret Busse today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to put in place measures that will help stem the tide of foreign-based illegal robocalls that attempt to scam Americans.

“Robocalls and Auto-texts seem to be proliferating at a greater rate than ever,” said Attorney General Reyes. “Everyone agrees they are inconvenient at best. At worst, and far too often, they are much more damaging than even the annoyance they present. These scams prey on vulnerable Utahns who are tricked into responding by answering or clicking a link. We must do even more at the federal level to crack down on overseas violators who are evading enforcement of our laws.”

“We gladly partner with the Utah Attorney General’s office to continue the battle against illegal robocalls,” said Department of Commerce Executive Director Margaret Busse. ” All of us are tired of these calls that prey on consumers and erode trust in the legitimate calls we receive to our homes and cell phones. There is not a magic bullet to solve the problem, but we will continue to support every measure to stem the tide of these harmful and annoying calls.”

Attorney General Reyes and a bipartisan group of 51 attorneys general are calling for the FCC to require gateway providers – the companies that allow foreign calls into the United States – to take steps to reduce how easily robocalls have been able to enter the U.S. telephone network, including implementing STIR/SHAKEN, a caller ID authentication technology that helps prevent spoofed calls. Gateway providers should be required to implement this technology within 30 days of it becoming a rule to help eliminate spoofed calls and to make sure that international calls that originate from U.S. telephone numbers are legitimate. In December, Attorney General [NAME] and a coalition of 51 attorneys general successfully helped to persuade the FCC to shorten by a year the deadline for smaller telephone companies to implement STIR/SHAKEN.

The attorneys general are asking the FCC to require these gateway providers to take additional measures to reduce robocalls, including:

  • Responding to requests from law enforcement, state attorneys general, or the FCC to trace back calls within 24 hours.
  • Blocking calls when providers are aware of an illegal or likely fraudulent caller.
  • Blocking calls that originate from numbers that are on a “do not originate” list – such as government phone numbers that are for incoming calls only.
  • Ensuring that foreign telephone companies they partner with are ensuring that calls are being made from legitimate numbers.

The attorneys general are also encouraging the FCC to require all phone companies to block calls from a gateway provider if it fails to meet these requirements. Illegal robocalls are a scourge – in 2020, Americans lost more than $520 million through robocall scams.

Attorney General Reyes is joined in sending this letter to the FCC by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, 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 Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

A copy of the letter is available HERE.

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