RICHMOND, Va. — Attorney General Mark Herring joined over 30 other attorneys general to call on the Federal Communications Commission to give phone companies more power to block robocalls.
It’s a problem anyone with a phone hears every day.
“Super irritating, they call three or four times back to back,” Don Brandon said. The Richmond resident gets a lot of robocalls. “I get them about a car insurance I don’t have.”
Four and a half million robocall complaints were reported to the Federal Trade Commission in 2017. That’s two and a half times more than in 2014. Virginia ranks fourth in the country for the most complaints reported to the FTC in 2017 for robocalls.
According to TelTech, the creators of the phone application “RoboKiller” that intercepts these scam calls, Norfolk and the Virginia Beach area have the highest volume of robocalls with over 23 million in September. Residents there receive almost 30 spam calls a month compared to the average American, who gets 19 per month.
Arlington gets over 20 million unwanted calls per month, with an average of 20 calls per resident. Richmond and Roanoke both see over 11 million robocalls month, while Abingdon and Bristol get over 3 million.
“People need to be on their guard…I’m the Attorney General and I’m getting them,” Mark Herring said.
Herring is joining a group of attorneys general urging the FCC to take stronger actions.
“[We want them] to allow phone companies to work together to block all of these robocalls while allowing the legitimate ones to come in,” he explained.
The FCC would be able to provide some level of liability protection for companies who adopt the new model and give incentives for companies to work together on this model.
The Attorney General’s office says service providers will be ready to launch this authentication method next year.
In the meantime, you should keep an eye out for something called “neighbor spoofing.”
“When you receive this call, it looks like a normal number,” Brandon said. “My phone will usually tell me ‘scam likely,’ and I can’t even get that anymore because they’re calling from like numbers of people that may live around the corner.”
That familiar number is supposed to trick you into picking up.
“It’ll look coming like it’s coming from your office or something that like, when in fact it’s coming from somewhere else around the country,” Herring said.
If you do pick it up, don’t give out any personal information. Scammers can look up your information online and use it against you during one of these calls.
“It’s really important because of the amount of information out there publicly that’s out there on the internet about you, some of these people who commit fraud and use these robocalls have that information and they’ll make it sound so much more legitimate,” he added.
Don’t give any personal information if you talk to one of these scammers. You can file a complaint at the FTC website if you get a call like this. Also, you can sign up for the Do Not Call Registry too.