Bipartisan Group of 35 AGs Call on FCC to Give Carriers More Powers to Block Robocalls

A bipartisan group of 35 state attorneys general are calling on the Federal Communications Commission to allow telephone carriers the ability to block more robocalls from ever making it to the phones of consumers.

The AGs want the FCC to increase the powers afforded to carriers to block robocalls, especially those that employ a tactic known as “neighbor spoofing,” where the caller ID on an incoming call has the same area code and exchange as the recipient, to make it appear as though the call is local.

Among the states that filed comments with the FCC were Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection.

“Unwanted robocalls aren’t just a nuisance – they’re a means for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting New Yorkers,” said Barbara Underwood, the Attorney General of New York. “New Yorkers have been bombarded with these illegal robocall scams – including the all-too-common spoofed calls that appear to come from a neighbor – and it’s time for federal action.”

The AGs want the FCC to allow carriers to block more calls than they already are, which could be a problem for the collection industry because, they admit, there are too many robocallers to try and track down and it is too easy for a robocaller to set up shop. Collection agencies have reported that their calls are being outright blocked by carriers or are being labeled as “scam” or “spam” by carriers, making it less likely for consumers to answer the calls. In a recent survey conducted by ACA International, 78% of respondents reported they have had their calls blocked and 74% have said they have had their calls mislabeled as spam.

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