MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Your phone rings with a number you don’t recognize. Sometimes it appears as though the caller is nearby with the same area code. Calls can appear very similar to your own number (or in some cases it IS your number). It’s robocalling. It’s illegal. And it’s getting much more frequent.
Now, nearly 40 states' attorneys general are forming a bipartisan group to stop, or at the least greatly reduce, the robocalls coming to your phone.
The states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is among those taking part in the effort, which is focused on the technology that major telecom companies are pursuing to combat illegal robocalls.
“Robocalls are not simply annoying but have become a persistent harassment that is disrupting the lives of our citizens and can be a means for scammers to steal their hard-earned money and savings,” Marshall said. “We are committed to working together to find a constructive way to combat this growing problem. Robocalls, as well as spoofing which is often done to make it appear the calls are coming from someone known and reputable, will require technological solutions. We support the efforts of telecom companies to address this and urge them to reach and implement solutions as soon as possible.”
The group of AGs is working to
- Develop a detailed understanding of what is technologically feasible to minimize unwanted robocalls and illegal telemarking
- Press the major telecom companies to expedite the best possible solutions for consumers
- Determine whether states should make further recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission.
Consumer Reports has several recommendations on how to minimize the number of robocalls you get, including putting your number on the Do Not Call Registry.
Verizon recommends that if you do get an illegal robocall, you should hang up. Do not try to interact with the caller and do not call back in an attempt to be removed from the call list because that can alert scammers to increase calls because you’ve confirmed your number connects to a real person.