Police & Fire

AG pushes to stop illegitimate phone numbers used for robocallers

LITTLE ROCK — Attorney General Leslie Rutledge wrote the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of its efforts to reduce illegal robocallers’ access to legitimate phone numbers in an effort to stop robocalls that scam people out of their hard-earned money. Earlier this year, phone companies were required to implement STIR/SHAKEN – caller ID authentication technology to combat spoofing by ensuring that telephone calls originate from verified numbers. Because the technology prevents robocallers from spoofing phone numbers, scam robocalls have dropped by 29 percent since June as the phone industry continues to put STIR/SHAKEN into effect.

“Robocalls must be stopped from interrupting and scamming Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “My colleagues and I are urging the FCC to implement these new restrictions so we can stop robocallers from using phone numbers that look real and deceive Arkansans into answering the calls – only to be scammed.”

Robocallers are now successfully evading caller ID authentication by purchasing access to legitimate phone numbers to conceal their identities. They typically do this by providing false identifying information to, or otherwise shielding their identities from, the companies that have access to legitimate numbers. Attorney General Rutledge supports the FCC’s proposals to implement a more thorough application, review, and monitoring process for phone companies that request direct access to phone numbers and to require these companies to verify their customers’ identities to help keep the numbers from being sold, leased, or rented to illegal robocallers. This includes limiting the use of both temporary phone numbers for trial customers and untraceable payment mechanisms.

Since taking office in 2015, Attorney General Rutledge has made it a top priority to stop the scourge of illegal calls and robocalls. Rutledge has consistently pushed the FCC to implement rules and polices to make the telephone carriers more responsible to identify and block these calls and to hold the providers liable for allowing these calls to pass through their networks. Rutledge brought together state and federal partners, as well as representatives of the telecommunications industry, to develop effective and innovative methods to stop the scourge of these persistent calls. Attorney General Rutledge is joined in sending this comment letter by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, 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, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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