West Virginia Joins Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force as Bipartisan Group Led by 50 Attorney Generals
By Connect-Bridgeport Staff on August 05, 2022
Participants in this bipartisan task force have one goal, which is to reduce illegal robocalls.
“Over time, one of the most frequent complaints our office has received has concerned robocalls and the scams they often produce,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This obviously impacts not just West Virginia but the entire nation. That is why this bipartisan effort is so important. We are now poised to take the fight to anyone who helps these robocallers, including those in the telecommunications industry.”
Already, the task force has issued 20 civil investigative demands to 20 gateway providers and other entities that are allegedly responsible for a majority of foreign robocall traffic. Gateway providers that bring foreign traffic into the U.S. telephone network have a responsibility to ensure the traffic is legal. However, these providers often don’t take sufficient action to stop robocall traffic.
Indeed, in many cases they appear to be intentionally turning a blind eye in return for steady revenue. In order to help reduce the number of robocalls that West Virginia residents receive, the task force will focus on those throughout the telecommunications industry who fail to mitigate these scams. This will also aid the companies that do follow the rules.
Attorney General Morrisey has repeatedly demonstrated his office is committed to stopping illegal and unwanted calls. He initiated discussions in 2019 with several phone companies in an effort to gain their commitment to expedite the deployment of scam blocking technology.
A short time later, he joined attorneys general from every state in reaching a bipartisan, public-private agreement that resulted in several phone companies adopting eight principles to fight illegal robocalls. The pact will protect consumers and make it easier for attorneys general and law enforcement to investigate and prosecute bad actors.
Attorney General Morrisey also successfully called upon Congress to pass the TRACED Act, legislation that enables states, federal regulators and telecom providers to take steps to combat the unlawful calls.
According to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center, Americans receive more than 33 million scam robocalls every day. These calls include Social Security Administration fraud against seniors, Amazon scams and many other scams targeting all consumers.
An estimated $29.8 billion was stolen through rip-off calls in 2021. Most of this scam activity originates overseas. The task force is focused on shutting down the providers that profit from this illegal scam traffic and refuse to take steps to otherwise mitigate these scam calls.
Attorney General Morrisey offers the following tips to avoid scams and unwanted calls:
- Be wary of callers who specifically ask you to pay by gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. For example, the Internal Revenue Service does not accept iTunes gift cards.
- Look out for prerecorded calls from imposters posing as government agencies. Typically, the Social Security Administration does not make any phone calls to individuals.
- If you suspect fraudulent activity, immediately hang up and do not provide any personal information.