BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a bipartisan group of 42 state attorneys general in support of rule changes proposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would allow the commission to combat caller ID “spoofing,” a technique used by illegal robocallers to disguise the true origin of their call.
“Robocalls are invasive and too often used as tools for scammers,” said AG Healey. “Today I am joining my colleagues across the country in support of the FCC’s proposed rule changes that will help stop illegal robocallers from harassing consumers.”
The attorneys general sent reply comments in response to a public call for comments from the FCC on proposed rule changes that would enable the commission to implement the important anti-spoofing provisions of the Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act (RAY BAUM’S Act), enacted by Congress in 2018. The attorneys general contend the proposed rule changes would broaden the authority of the FCC to hold illegal robocallers accountable for the significant harm they inflict on U.S. consumers without being limited by the scammer’s location or whether their scams were carried out using voice calls or text messages. In the comments, the attorneys general encourage the FCC to adopt new rules authorizing voice service providers, who can accurately identify illegally spoofed calls, to block illegally spoofed calls.
Robocalls have been a persistent problem for consumers for years and remain the most frequently complained about issue to AG Healey’s consumer assistance hotline. The AG’s Office is part of a multistate group of attorneys general formed in 2018 to reverse this trend and pursue solutions to this growing problem across the telecommunications industry. The multistate group has held meetings with several major telecom companies that have led to greater transparency about the technological capabilities that currently exist or are in development to fight these calls. The multistate group’s work involves:
In October 2018, AG Healey announced her office had joined a group of 34 state attorneys general in calling on the FCC and telephone service providers to implement new technologies and policies that would block more illegal robocalls. The multistate comments call on all domestic and international carriers to implement a technology standard that allows carriers to authenticate the source of a call, block certain high-risk calls from reaching their subscribers, and send a warning to their customer about calls that are unverified spoofed calls or a likely scam. These warnings would allow the customer to choose whether to block the call or let it go to voicemail.
The AG’s Consumer Advocacy & Response Division (CARD) is equipped with specialists that can answer questions, refer consumers to a wide network of assistance services, or directly assist consumers in resolving their problems. The AG’s consumer hotline can be reached at 617-727-8400 and is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.mass.gov/get-consumer-support for more information.
Today’s multistate group includes attorneys general from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.