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Ford presses FCC to move against illegal robocalls

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford and the State Attorneys General Robocall Working Group on Thursday wrote a comment letter to the Federal Communications Commission, encouraging the FCC to facilitate continued collaboration among state attorneys general and telecommunications companies to coordinate tracing illegal robocalls.

Under the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, which became law in December 2019, the FCC will select a single registered association to manage the tracing of illegal robocalls.

Because a call can pass through the networks of many telecommunication companies before reaching its final destination, tracing that call — which is key to enforcing laws against illegal robocallers — requires collaboration among these companies and state attorneys general.

In their comments, the states note that traceback investigations are necessary for law enforcement to more efficiently identify and investigate illegal robocallers and expose voice service providers that assist and facilitate illegal robocallers.

“Robocalls affect everyone far and wide, and during the pandemic, these illegal calls have increased with fake offers for coronavirus testing and relief,” Ford said. “I’m proud to be working on several fronts to protect Nevadans from these annoying and illegal calls, and I’m encouraging the FCC to continue to work with my office and telecommunications companies to trace back these calls.”

Ford has encouraged the telecommunication industry to increase the number and speed of traceback investigations each month.

Many telecommunication companies have joined this effort and are working hard to stop illegal robocallers.

Traceback investigations are more urgent than ever because of coronavirus-related robocall scams, including scams related to coronavirus relief checks, pitches for coronavirus test kits, health plans offering coronavirus testing, work-from-home offers preying on job-seekers and scams offering relief on utility bills, student loans, taxes or other debt.

Since 2018, Nevada has been a member of a coalition of states working with the telecom industry to attack robocalls in a comprehensive way by implementing common-sense business practices to minimize illegal robocalls and trace these calls back to their source.

Ford is joined in submitting the comments by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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