Beshear: AGs, Phone Companies Announce Agreement to Tackle Illegal Scam Calls
Phone companies adopt eight principles to help attorneys general fight scam calls
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 22, 2019) – Attorney General Andy Beshear announced today that 51 attorneys general and several major phone companies are working together to stop illegal and invasive scam calls.
As a result of a bipartisan, public-private coalition of attorneys general and 12 phone companies, the companies have agreed to adopt eight principles into their business practices to fight illegal calls.
Beshear says the agreement with AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon and Windstream will help protect phone users from illegal scam calls and make it easier for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute bad actors.
“Today’s announcement is a win for every Kentuckian who wants the barrage of scam phone calls to end,” Beshear said. “This agreement is the result of hard work that has occurred among states and phone companies committed to finding and implementing innovative ways to stop the harm and hassle scammers cause our families every day.”
The eight principles address the nation’s scam call problem in two main ways: prevention and enforcement.
First, the phone companies will work to prevent illegal scam robocalls by:
Implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers.
Making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking tools.
Implementing technology to authenticate that calls are coming from a valid source.
Monitoring their networks for scam robocall traffic.
Phone companies will assist attorneys’ general anti-scam call enforcement by:
Knowing who their customers are so bad actors can be identified and investigated.
Investigating and taking action against suspicious callers, including notifying law enforcement and state attorneys general.
Working with law enforcement and states to trace the origins of illegal robocalls.
Requiring telephone companies with which they contract to cooperate in traceback identification.
Going forward, phone companies will stay in close communication with the coalition of attorneys general to continue to optimize scam call protections as technology and scammer techniques change.
Since taking office, Beshear has supported multiple efforts and new approaches on the state and federal level that are now helping to stop scam calls.
Last year, Beshear urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt rules that allow phone service providers to use new technology to block illegal spoofed calls. In June, the FCC voted unanimously to allow phone companies to join the fight. Before the change, providers were required by law to complete known scam calls and now they can block them before they ever reach your phone.
Soon after the rule change occurred, AT&T became the first major wireless company to start blocking scam calls. Carriers can now go as far as allowing customers to block calls from any number that does not appear on their contact list or other approved lists.
Beshear supported the FCC’s action requiring service providers to implement a caller ID authentication framework. Some carriers are already helping by identifying a call as “scam likely” or “scam call.”
Beshear’s office was also part of a national sweep recently with the Federal Trade Commission and other states that cracked down on nearly 100 illegal call operations. These operations were responsible for more than a billion illegal scam calls.
Beshear said Kentuckians wanting to join the fight against scammers should contact their phone carrier or internet service provider to ask about call-blocking technology, which can help stop many scam calls.
Kentuckians can avoid falling victim to scams by signing up to receive new and trending scam alerts from the Office of the Attorney General by texting the words KYOAG SCAM to GOV-311 or visiting ag.ky.gov/scams.