A.G. Tong Urges Efforts to stop Robocallers from Misusing Legitimate Phone Numbers

Attorney General William Tong on Tuesday wrote the Federal Communications Commission in support of its efforts to reduce illegal robocallers’ access to legitimate phone numbers.

“Caller ID technology has successfully blocked billions of spam robocalls, but billions more are still making it through undetected,” ” said Attorney General Tong in a statement. “We need to make sure our technology and our efforts keep pace with the ever-evolving tactics of scammers. I fully support the FCC’s proposals to crack down on phone number purchases, and stand ready to work alongside the FCC and attorneys general nationwide to protect American families from these malicious intrusions.’

People can help bolster investigations in Connecticut by reporting their robocalls to https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint/. Connecticut’s website complaint intake has been recently revamped to gather robocall-specific complaint data.

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% since June as the phone industry continues to put STIR/SHAKEN into effect.

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. 

The attorneys general support 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.

The comment letter to the FCC was led by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. Attorney General Tong is joined in sending this comment letter by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, 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.

A copy of the letter is available here.