Efforts to Curb Robocalls: How Ohio’s Attorney General is Working with Service Providers to Protect Ohioans from Illegal Robocalls

Ohio Attorney General, Dave Yost, recently announced the office’s agreement with twelve phone service providers to adopt anti-robocall procedures as part of a statewide initiative to combat this increasing issue. This agreement is part of a larger, nationwide response to illegal robocall activity. In his official release, Yost noted that 50 other attorney generals and 12 different major phone carriers, including Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T, have agreed to adopt procedures that will curb illegal robocalls and allow authorities to “investigate and prosecute bad actors.”

Americans are inundated with an estimated 100 million robocalls every day. Ten years after the Federal Trade Commission banned unsolicited prerecorded telemarketing calls, the entities behind these annoying robocalls have only developed more stealthy methods—often the calls have a local area code or mimic the recipient’s own phone number to increase the chances of engagement. Robocalls work in part because the con-artists behind them spoof other numbers to trick people into answering. The calls may appear on your caller ID as a relative, your banking institution, the IRS, and most recently, your student loan servicer. Fraud from unwanted calls totals about $9.5 billion a year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. That amounts to $26 million per day that con-artists are taking from customers.

The service  providers who have entered into an agreement with the Ohio Attorney General have pledged to begin implementing new screening methods to block calls from getting through at no additional cost to customers. The providers have also agreed to monitor their networks for robocall traffic, and to implement labeling technology that will verify that an incoming call is from a valid source. Service providers have also agreed to partner with the Ohio Attorney General’s office on investigation and prosecution fronts. The providers will report suspicious activity to law enforcement, and work with law enforcement to trace the origins of illegal calls. Yost stated in his announcement, that “by adopting these commonsense business practices, service providers will reinforce our ongoing efforts to crack down on this growing nuisance.”

As scam tactics change, the service providers will remain in close contact with Yost and his office to develop new robocall protections. The phone service providers that have joined the initiative include landline and mobile carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Windstream.

If you have questions about this article, feel free to contact me at edavenport@pselaw.com.  If you believe that you or someone you know has been targeted defrauded at the hands of an illegal robocall, contact the attorneys at Pickrel, Schaeffer & Ebeling at (937) 223-1130.

AUTHOR: Ebony Davenport