Police & Fire

AG leads effort to stop international scam calls

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today is leading an effort with attorneys general from all 50 states and D.C. to urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to put in place stronger measures to help stem the tide of foreign-originated illegal robocalls. 

“Throughout my time as Attorney General, I have actively worked to protect Arkansans from illegal robocallers, particularly those who seek to scam hardworking Arkansans out of their money,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is past time for the FCC to implement new technologies to prevent international callers from targeting Americans.”

Attorney General Rutledge is calling for the FCC to require gateway providers – the companies that allow foreign calls into the United States – to take steps to reduce the number of illegal robocalls that enter the U.S. telephone network, including through the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN, a caller ID authentication technology that helps prevent spoofed calls by requiring that the call be authenticated before it is passed on to the call recipient.  Gateway providers would be required to implement this technology within 30 days upon the rule taking effect, thus eliminating spoofed calls and ensuring that calls from U.S. telephone numbers are legitimate. In December, Attorney General Rutledge and a coalition of 51 attorneys general successfully helped to persuade the FCC to implement STIR/SHAKEN for small telephone companies one year sooner than originally planned, in order to provide relief from robocalls to Arkansans as quickly as possible.

The attorneys general are asking the FCC to require that gateway telephone providers 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 have had a significant effect on the national economy. In 2020, Americans lost more than $520 million through robocall scams.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge led today’s comment letter to the FCC in collaboration with attorneys general from North Carolina and Pennsylvania. A copy of the letter is available here.

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