State AG Ups the Ante in Battle against Robocalls

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey recently joined a bipartisan coalition of 52 attorneys general in calling on USTelecom – the leading organization representing telecommunications providers – and its Industry Traceback Group (ITG) to continue its collaboration with state attorneys general by bolstering technological capabilities that will improve enforcement against illegal robocallers.

The coalition’s recent letter called for further development of robocall traceback and other tools suited to law enforcement needs.

“We must leave no stone unturned in our fight against unlawful robocalls,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We are duty bound to aggressively pursue the criminals who use robocalls to bilk West Virginians every day, and to do that, law enforcement must have every tool it needs. The people of the Mountain State, her families and her businesses deserve nothing less.”

The coalition asks USTelecom to advance the ITG’s abilities in identifying robocall campaigns, trends and business ecosystems. It further requests that the group conduct automated traceback investigations and invites ITG to coordinate with relevant law enforcement agencies.

A key part of that action would be for USTelecom to develop and roll out an online platform in order to collect live data from carriers and robocall-blocking apps. When USTelecom or a law enforcement agency detects an illegal robocall campaign, the law enforcement agency could then submit a subpoena to USTelecom in a streamlined online portal. 

Attorney General Morrisey initiated discussions last year 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 12 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.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a robocall scam should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.