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Morrisey continues fight against robocalls

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey released an update Monday on efforts by his office, telecom companies and partnering attorneys general to stop unlawful robocalls.

The progress report details 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.

“Far too many unlawful robocalls still slip through and we remain committed to even greater success, yet, the progress realized over the past two years is quite impressive,” Morrisey said. “Two years ago, consumers had no automatic way of detecting a spam call, but thanks to persistent pressure applied by our coalition, the telecom companies have implemented technology that detects and alerts consumers to many suspicious calls.”

The principles required companies to:

• offer customers free call labeling and blocking tools,

• implement network-level call blocking,

• combat caller ID spoofing on their networks with STIR/SHAKEN technology,

• confirm the identity of commercial customers,

• analyze and monitor high-volume network traffic consistent with robocalls,

• investigate suspicious calls and calling patterns on their networks, and

• cooperate in traceback investigations and aid law enforcement.

Enforcement actions have increased as a result of these efforts. For instance, since the principles were established, the Industry Traceback Group, working alongside state attorneys general, has run 4,769 traceback investigations — about three times as many as were conducted prior to the principles.

The Industry Traceback Group also has identified 319 domestic and foreign providers as originating the majority of robocalls.

West Virginia joined the Anti-Robocall Principles with attorneys general from every state and Washington D.C.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a robocall 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.

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