Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Attorney General Donovan Pushes Efforts to Stop Illegal, Unwanted Robocalls

August 26, 2019

Contact: Christopher Curtis, Chief, Public Protection Division, 802-828-3171

Attorney General Donovan today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to encourage telecom companies to implement call blocking and call authentication solutions that would protect consumers from illegal robocalls and spoofing. Today’s comment letter to the FCC comes after Attorney General Donovan and a bipartisan, public-private coalition of 50 attorneys general and 12 phone companies announced a set of Anti-Robocall Principles to fight illegal robocalls last week.

“Last week we took a step toward ensuring that phone companies will do more to help Vermonters answer their phones without annoyance or fear of fraud by implementing anti-robocall strategies,” said Attorney General Donovan. “Today we are calling on the FCC to do its part to protect consumers and put a stop to illegal robocalls.”

In their comments to the FCC, the coalition of attorneys general state that all telecom providers should:

  • Offer free, automatic call-blocking services to all customers. Such technology should prevent illegal robocalls while still allowing emergency alerts and automated calls that customers have signed up for, like medical reminders.
  • Monitor network traffic to identify patterns consistent with robocalls and take action to cut off the calls or notify law enforcement.
  • Implement the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication technology to will help ensure that telephone calls are originating from secure, verified numbers, and not spoofed sources.
  • Develop caller ID authentication to prevent robocalls to landline telephones to reduce the risk of scams affecting elderly consumers.

Many of these actions are also covered in the Anti-Robocall Principles, a set of eight principles focused on addressing illegal robocalls through prevention and enforcement that were announced last week(1). 12 phone companies, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, have already signed on to the principles.

A copy of the comment letter is available here.

 

 

 

(1)Phone companies will work to prevent illegal robocalls by:

  • Implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers.
  • Making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools.
  • Implementing technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source.
  • Monitoring their networks for robocall traffic.

Phone companies will assist attorneys’ general anti-robocall enforcement by:

  • Knowing who their customers are so bad actors can be identified and investigated.
  • Investigating and taking action against suspicious callers – including notifying law enforcement and state attorneys general.
  • Working with law enforcement, including state attorneys general, to trace the origins of illegal robocalls.
  • Requiring telephone companies with which they contract to cooperate in traceback identification.

Last modified: August 26, 2019