West Virginia Record

Friday, September 20, 2019

AGs, phone companies reach agreement to fight illegal robocalls

State AG

By Chris Dickerson | Aug 22, 2019


CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is part of a coalition of 51 attorneys general and 12 phone companies that have reached an agreement that will result in the phone companies adopting eight principles to fight illegal robocalls.

Morrisey's office says the bipartisan, public-private agreement will protect consumers from illegal robocalls and make it easier for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute offenders.

“This is another step forward in the effort to get rid of these terrible robocalls,” Morrisey said. “Our team has been working on this for a long time, and we continue to work with other smaller providers to bring every telecommunications provider into the fold.”


Morrisey

Morrisey began talks earlier this year with several phone companies to gain their commitment to speed the use of scam-blocking technology. The coalition’s agreed upon principles address the robocall problem through prevention and enforcement, his office says.

Phone companies will work to prevent illegal robocalls with implementation of call-blocking technology at the network level, along with through greater availability of easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools, all at no cost to the consumer. 

The phone companies also will monitor networks for robocall traffic and implement technology to authenticate that calls are coming from a valid source.

The companies will help AGs with enforcement by investigating and taking action against suspicious callers. That includes notifying law enforcement and state AGs of suspicious callers and working with government officials to trace origins of the illegal calls.

The participating phone companies also agreed to gain a better knowledge of their customers to assist in identifying possible offenders and make efforts so that any phone company they contract with cooperates in traceback identification.

The AGs and phone companies plan to stay in close communication with hopes to continue to optimize robocall protections as technology and scam techniques change.

West Virginia joined the North Carolina-, New Hampshire- and Indiana-led principles with attorneys general from every state and Washington D.C.

The coalition of companies includes AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon and Windstream. 

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