Attorney General Shapiro and Senator Casey Commend FCC for Heeding Call to Let Phone Companies Block Illegal Robocalls

November 16, 2017 | Topic: Consumers

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today applauded the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to finalize new rules to protect Americans from illegal robocalls. The new rules allow phone companies to block certain phone numbers that do not or cannot make outgoing calls.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), there are nearly 2.4 billion robocalls made every month. Illegal robocall schemes victimize countless individuals, including seniors, robbing them of their savings. It is estimated that con artists steal approximately $3 billion from seniors via scams — including fraudulent phone calls enabled by illegal robocall technology.

“The FCC’s action today, allowing phone companies to block spoofing, is a clear victory for consumers,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “Pennsylvanians – especially seniors – have been targeted by these fraudulent robocalls for far too long, and that’s why I joined with Senator Casey last month, and 28 attorneys general earlier, in urging the FCC to take the step that it took today.”

“I am pleased that the FCC has heeded our calls and will give phone companies additional tools to block certain illegal robocalls,” said Senator Casey, ranking member of the Special Committee on Aging. “These new rules will help prevent scammers and con artists from reaching our loved ones in an effort to steal their hard-earned money.”

In October, the Senate Aging Committee held a hearing to examine ways to protect consumers from scams made by illegal robocalls. During the hearing, Attorney General Josh Shapiro testified about what tools the Commonwealth is using to help keep seniors safe from financial predators and the importance of preventive education to help teach seniors how to identify and avoid frauds and scams.

Attorney General Shapiro and Senator Casey wrote a letter to urge the FCC to swiftly pass the rule as soon as possible. In the letter they highlighted the large amount of money scammed from seniors each year and that each day that the implementation was delayed, more seniors fell victim to a fraud or scam.

Earlier this year, Attorney General Shapiro also joined a bipartisan coalition of 29 attorneys general in a formal comment to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking them to allow phone companies to block robocalls and spoofed calls.

“These new rules will protect Pennsylvania consumers and seniors from scam artists who seek to steal their money,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We’re putting a stop to it.”

Watch the archived hearing on protecting older adults against fraudulent calls.

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