February 25th, 2019

LITTLE ROCK,– Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today sent a letter to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) demanding that the FCC take more aggressive measures to require all telecommunication companies (telecoms) to use existing technology to identify and stop illegal robocalls.

“The telecoms have the technology to identify phone numbers and block calls that are likely scams, and it is time they take responsibility for continuing to connect scam calls,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These calls are frustrating and extremely costly for Arkansans. I am determined to end these incessant robocalls and protect Arkansans from these con artists.”

Telecom carriers have long claimed that FCC rules restricted them from blocking calls. But in November 2017, the FCC released the 2017 Call Blocking Order granting telecoms the authority to block certain numbers known to be illegitimate. Rutledge is urging the FCC to take further measures to grant telecoms more authority to block illegal robocalls. Rutledge is also pressing the FCC to reconsider its decision to not hold third-party caller ID services, e.g., spoofing services, legally responsible for verifying that users have ownership of the number being spoofed such as the number displayed from a pharmacy or doctor’s office call.

In October 2018, Rutledge joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general that called on the FCC to urge telephone services providers to protect consumers from illegal robocalls. Rutledge also sits on the executive committee of the Robocall Technology Working Group which consists of 37 state attorneys general who have taken on the task to find ways to stop the epidemic of illegal robocalls. The executive committee has also met with senior executives from leading telecoms to discuss efforts and obstacles to combatting illegal robocalls, and how the telecoms and the attorneys general can work together in this effort. The group is currently working with experts in the field to develop best practices for the telecom industry, which, if adopted, will enable telecoms to better identify and prevent illegal robocalls and aid law enforcement agencies in identifying and prosecuting the originator of these calls. The group is also supporting congressional actions to address these issues and are urging telecoms to make call-blocking available to consumers for free.

Story courtesy Attorney General Leslie Rutledge News Releases


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