Attorney General Andy Beshear announced this week that his office is doubling down on recent, successful efforts with phone companies to stop scam calls by urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to compel more phone companies to join the fight.
Beshear joined a coalition of 51 attorneys general in sending comments to the FCC in support of requiring voice service providers to implement a caller ID authentication framework if they fail to implement the framework voluntarily by the end of 2019 and to provide free, default call-blocking programs to customers.
The comments follow a breakthrough announcement from Beshear, a bipartisan public-private coalition of 51 attorneys general and 12 phone companies last week who reached an agreement to work together to stop illegal and invasive scam calls.
“Working to stop illegal scam calls is a top priority for my office,” Beshear said. “To make sure every Kentuckian is protected, I want to see every phone service provider offer free call-blocking services and implement technology that can block scam calls. If companies won’t voluntarily provide these crucial services, they should be required to.”
In their comments to the FCC, the coalition of attorneys general states that phone service providers should be required to:
· Offer free, automatic call-blocking services to all customers. The call-blocking services should be based on reasonable analytics and should not block important calls, including emergency alerts or automated calls that customers have signed up for, like medical reminders or school notifications.
· Monitor network traffic to identify patterns consistent with scam calls and take action to cut off the calls or notify law enforcement.
· Implement caller ID call authentication technology, which will help ensure that telephone calls are originating from secure, verified numbers, not spoofed sources. The coalition supports the FCC’s proposal to take regulatory action against telecom companies that do not comply with this technology.
· Develop caller ID authentication to prevent robocalls to landline telephones. This is particularly urgent because the people defrauded by scam calls are often elderly Kentuckians who primarily use landline technology.
Attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. have joined Beshear in signing these comments.
Since taking office, Beshear has worked on the state and federal level to encourage the implementation of new solutions to help stop scam calls.
Last year, Beshear urged the FCC to adopt rules that allow phone companies to use new technology to block illegal robocalls. In June, the FCC voted unanimously to let phone companies join the fight. Before this change, companies were required by law to complete known scam calls and now they can legally block them before they ever reach your phone.
Beshear has long supported the FCC’s actions to encourage and require service providers to implement a caller ID authentication framework. Some carriers are already helping by identifying a call as “scam likely” or “scam call.”
Earlier this year, Beshear’s office was also part of a national sweep with the Federal Trade Commission and other states that cracked down on nearly 100 illegal call operations. These operations were responsible for more than a billion illegal scam calls.
Kentuckians wanting to block scam calls to their phone should contact their phone carrier or internet service provider to ask about call-blocking technology, which can help stop many scam calls.
Kentuckians can avoid falling victim to scams by signing up to receive new and trending scam alerts from the Office of the Attorney General by texting the words KYOAG SCAM to GOV-311 or visiting ag.ky.gov/scams.
Beshear said Kentuckians should report scams to his office via an online complaint form or by calling 888-432-9257.