RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A nationwide task force has been created to go after companies that are found responsible for most foreign robocalls in the U.S.
The Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force, made up of a bipartisan coalition of 50 state attorneys general, will investigate and take legal action against providers with one goal in mind: cut down illegal robocalls.
Attorney General Jason Miyares announced Tuesday that Virginia was joining the task force, saying in a statement that “enough is enough — it’s time to crack down on these annoying and illegal calls and proactively protect Virginians.”
“Everyone has experienced the nuisance of robocalls,” Miyares said. “These scams are constantly trying to steal Virginians’ personal information, targeting not only online consumers but senior citizens as well.”
According to Miyares’ office, the new task force has already issued “civil investigative demands to 20 gateway providers and other entities” accused of being responsible for the majority of foreign robocall traffic.
The attorney general’s office says the gateway providers bringing foreign traffic into the nation’s telephone network are tasked with ensuring the traffic is legal but they “are not taking sufficient action to stop robocall traffic.” The providers, the AG’s office claims, seem to be purposely turning a blind eye “for steady revenue.”
The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) says Americans received over 50 billion robocalls in 2021 and a report from NCLC and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) found that there are more than 33 million scam robocalls to Americans each day.
The newly-formed task force aims to shut down the providers profiting from the illegal traffic that refuse to make efforts to prevent the scam robocalls.
Miyares’ office and attorneys general also involved in the task force shared the following tips to avoid being targeted:
- 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 phone calls to individuals
- If you suspect fraudulent activity, immediately hang-up and do not provide any personal information
You can learn more about robocalls and ways to stop unwanted calls and messages here.