Attorney General Todd Rokita Monday called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to put measures in place to better prevent foreign-based illegal robocalls aimed at scamming Americans.
“Hoosiers are sick and tired of getting scam calls, along with everyone else in the country,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Bad actors who willfully or blindly enable illegal robocalls have no place in the calling ecosystem. We will continue to fight to stop those calls. We will keep working to protect Hoosiers’ privacy and hard-earned money.”
In October, Attorney General Rokita filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against an Indiana company that allegedly acted as a gateway into the United States for robocallers in India, the Philippines and Singapore. The robocallers allegedly made more than 5 million phone calls to Hoosiers and hundreds of millions of calls to other states.
Now Attorney General Rokita and a bipartisan group of attorneys general are calling for the FCC to require gateway providers — companies that allow foreign calls into the United States — to take steps to make it more difficult for robocalls to enter the U.S. telephone network. This includes implementing STIR/SHAKEN, a caller ID authentication technology that helps prevent spoofed calls.
Gateway providers, the attorneys general argue in a letter, should be required to implement this technology within 30 days of it becoming a rule. This step would help eliminate spoofed calls — calls deceptively made to appear to originate from numbers other than their actual source. In December, Attorney General Rokita and a coalition of 51 attorneys general successfully helped to persuade the FCC to shorten by a year the deadline for smaller telephone companies to implement STIR/SHAKEN.
The attorneys general are also 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 that are for incoming calls only.
- Ensuring that foreign telephone companies they partner with are ensuring that calls are being made from legitimate numbers.
The attorneys general are encouraging the FCC to require all phone companies to block calls from any gateway provider that fails to meet these requirements. In 2020, Americans lost more than $520 million through robocall scams.