Attorney General William Tong, who has made fighting robocalls a top priority, on Wednesday released an update on telecom companies’ progress in implementing the Anti-Robocall Principles he signed onto in 2019.
Since September 2019, companies that agreed to these Principles have identified more than 52 billion spam or spoofed numbers calls, authenticated the caller ID numbers of hundreds of billions of calls, and blocked more than 32.5 billion spam, spoofed, or illegal calls.
There is more work to do, however.
Already this year, 391,453 Americans have filed reports with the FTC about robocalls, reporting totals of at least $356 million in losses. These numbers underscore the need to continue to fight back against the scourge of robocalls.
“Robocalls are more than a nuisance. These incessant, intrusive calls are the top tool of scammers seeking to steal our money, identities, and personal information. Two years ago, state attorneys general joined forces with the nation’s top telecom companies to fight the scourge of illegal robocalls,” said Attorney General Tong in a release. “Since then, we have jointly blocked more than 52 billion spam calls and initiated hundreds of domestic and international investigations to identify, stop, and bring these scammers to justice. Our work has just begun, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting American families from these malicious calls.”
“Our website has recently been updated to allow consumers to directly submit audio recordings of robocalls. If you have been the victim of a robocall, I want to know.”– AG William Tong
The Principles required companies to:
- offer customers free call labeling and blocking tools,
- implement network-level call blocking,
- combat caller ID spoofing on their networks with STIR/SHAKEN technology,
- confirm the identify of commercial customers,
- analyze and monitor high-volume network traffic consistent with robocalls,
- investigate suspicious calls and calling patterns on their networks, and
- cooperate in traceback investigations and aid law enforcement.
Enforcement actions have increased as a result of these efforts by the telecom companies that signed onto the Principles. Since the Principles were established:
- The Industry Traceback Group (ITG), working alongside state AGs, ran 4,769 tracebacks, about three times as many investigations as were conducted prior to the Principles.
- The ITG identified 319 domestic and foreign providers as originating the majority of robocalls.
- Law enforcement and government agencies, including state AGs, have sent more than 162 civil investigative demands and subpoenas to the ITG alone.
- Law enforcement and government agencies, including state AGs, have sent additional civil investigative demands, subpoenas, and warning letters to the companies that do business with robocallers and with those that help these illegal and fraudulent calls reach consumers.
Industry Traceback investigations and governmental enforcement actions will continue. Help bolster investigations in Connecticut by reporting your robocalls to https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint/. Connecticut’s website complaint intake has been recently revamped to gather robocall-specific complaint data.
More about Attorney General Tong’s work to fight back on robocalls: