Attorney General Josh Shapiro Urges FCC to Take Action Against Robocalls, Caller ID Spoofing

May 6, 2019 | Topic: Consumers

42 States Attorneys General Join Pennsylvania in Pressing FCC to Act Further to Reduce Spoofed Calls and Texts

HARRISBURG —Attorney General Josh Shapiro led a bipartisan group of 42 attorneys general in calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take further action to stop the growing proliferation of illegal robocalls and spoofing.

In formal legal comments delivered to the FCC, Attorney General Shapiro and his fellow attorneys general urged the FCC to adopt its proposed rules on enforcement against caller ID spoofing on calls to the United States originating from overseas, while also addressing spoofing in text messaging and alternative voice services. These provisions are included in the FCC appropriations authorization bill also known as the RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018.

The number of spoofed calls and the consumer financial losses tied to these scams have increased by nearly 50 percent in recent years.

“Scam robocalls, and the illegal caller ID spoofing that often accompanies them, continue to take advantage of our consumers,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We need to dial up the pressure on individuals and entities scamming hardworking families and senior citizens out of their money, expose them to risk of identity theft, and generally harass them on a daily basis. I urge the FCC to adopt its proposed rules that will address this growing problem—which is worsening by the day for Pennsylvanians.”

Americans received almost 18 billion scam robocalls in 2018 and overall, robocalls increased in the U.S. by 57 percent from 2017 to 2018. The FCC reports that imposter scams have reportedly cost consumers $488 million just in 2018.

The coalition sending formal comments to the FCC was led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and included Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia.

Today’s formal comments are the latest action taken by Attorney General Shapiro and his colleagues on the vexing, growing problem of robocalls and spoofing.

In October 2017, Attorney General Shapiro testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging with U.S. Senator Bob Casey. He called on legislators and the FCC to do more to protect Pennsylvania seniors and consumers from illegal robocalls and spoofing used to conceal the caller’s location. One month later, the FCC issued the 2017 Call Blocking Order, which Attorney General Shapiro and a group of 29 other Attorneys General had encouraged the FCC to adopt.

# # #