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West Virginia Joins Coalition to Stop Illegal Robocalls

West Virginia has joined a broad, bipartisan coalition in writing to the Federal Communications Commission in support of its efforts to reduce illegal robocallers' access to legitimate phone numbers.

robocalling
(TNS) — West Virginia has joined a broad, bipartisan coalition in writing to the Federal Communications Commission in support of its efforts to reduce illegal robocallers' access to legitimate phone numbers.

Scammers often use legitimate phone numbers to make incessant robocalls that swindle consumers, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Monday.

"As telecommunications technology improves, so does scammers' ability to find ways to exploit it," Morrisey said. " West Virginia remains committed to making progress in combating unlawful robocalls and we will continue to cooperate with other states and national agencies to stop these illegal and obnoxious scam calls."

Earlier this year, phone companies were required to implement STIR/SHAKEN — caller ID authentication technology to combat spoofing by ensuring that telephone calls originate from verified numbers, according to the Attorney General's Office. Because the technology prevents robocallers from spoofing phone numbers, scam robocalls have dropped by 29 percent since June as the phone industry continues to put STIR/SHAKEN into effect.

Robocallers are now successfully evading caller ID authentication by purchasing access to legitimate phone numbers to conceal their identities. They typically do this by providing false identifying information to, or otherwise shielding their identities from, the companies that have access to legitimate numbers, according to the Attorney General's Office.

The attorneys general support the FCC's proposals to implement a more thorough application, review, and monitoring process for phone companies that request direct access to phone numbers and to require these companies to verify their customers' identities to help keep the numbers from being sold, leased or rented to illegal robocallers. This includes limiting the use of both temporary phone numbers for trial customers and untraceable payment mechanisms.

In September, Morrisey released a progress report detailing success in the implementation of Anti-Robocall Principles that West Virginia signed in late summer 2019 as part of an agreement between 51 attorneys general and several phone companies.

Since September 2019, the involved companies have identified more than 52 billion spam or spoofed-number calls, authenticated the caller ID numbers of hundreds of billions of calls and blocked more than 32.5 billion spam, spoofed or illegal calls.

Monday's comment letter to the FCC was led by the attorneys general of North Carolina and Florida. West Virginia joined in sending the letter with the attorneys general of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

© 2021 the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (Bluefield, W.Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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