Hawaiʻi Attorney General joins coalition to stop international scam calls
* Updated January 11, 6:00 PM
Hawai‘i Attorney General Holly T. Shikada joined a coalition of all 50 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia attorney general that urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to implement measures to help stop international illegal robocalls intended to scam Americans.
The comment letter sent today to the FCC was led by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
“Combating robocalls to protect consumers from malicious scams should be one of the top priorities of the FCC,” Hawaiʻi Attorney General Shikada said. “Implementing the latest technologies, assisting law enforcement and instituting needed policies are just a few of the measures that could make a difference in addressing this pervasive problem.”
The attorneys general requested the FCC require gateway providers – the companies that allow foreign calls into the United States – to take steps to reduce how easily robocalls have been able to enter the US telephone network, including implementing STIR/SHAKEN, a caller ID authentication technology that helps prevent spoofed calls.
The coalition wrote the technology should be implemented within 30 days of it becoming a rule to help eliminate spoofed calls and to make sure that international calls that originate from US telephone numbers are legitimate.
In December, the coalition successfully helped to persuade the FCC to shorten the deadline by a year for smaller telephone companies to implement STIR/SHAKEN.
The attorneys general now are asking the FCC to require these gateway providers to take additional measures to reduce robocalls, including:
- Responding to requests from law enforcement, state attorneys general or the FCC to trace back calls within 24 hours.
- Blocking calls when providers are aware of an illegal or likely fraudulent caller.
- Blocking calls that originate from numbers that are on a “do not originate” list – such as government phone numbers used for incoming calls only.
- Ensuring foreign telephone companies they partner with also are ensuring calls only be made from legitimate numbers.
The coalition also is encouraging the FCC to require all phone companies to block calls from a gateway provider if it fails to meet these requirements. Illegal robocalls are a scourge – in 2020, Americans lost more than $520 million through robocall scams, according to the coalition’s news release.
A copy of the letter is available HERE.