Attorneys general urging lawmakers to pass bill targeting scam calls

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is urging U.S. Senate leaders to address illegal scam calls.

Last year, Hunter joined a coalition of 34 state attorneys general in sending a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, calling on the commission to adopt new rules to allow telephone service providers to block robocalls and scam phone calls before they reach consumers.

The group wants service providers to be able to use new technology to detect and block illegal robocalls, even those appearing to come from local phone numbers.

“Illegal robocalls are irritating and disconcerting, and phone scammers are successfully able to steal personal information, leaving Oklahomans susceptible to identity theft,” Attorney General Hunter said. “It is time to take more action and give service providers more tools in order for them to protect consumers from these scams. I appreciate my colleagues for continuing this fight to protect our families, neighbors and loved ones across the Unites States. Working together with state partners, the federal government and law enforcement personnel, we will find a way to end these calls and give Oklahomans protection and peace of mind.”

The group says that they have received tens of thousands of consumer complaints regarding robocalls, but they have a difficult time enforcing laws against the callers on their own.

Now, Hunter and 53 other attorneys general have asked the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to pass federal legislation to stop scam calls.

The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act would require service providers to adopt technology that verifies that incoming calls are legitimate before they reach consumers’ phones and allows the Federal Communications Commission to find telemarketers up to $10,000 per prohibited call.

Attorney General Hunter said the legislation also directs federal consumer protection and law enforcement agencies to work alongside state attorneys general to find ways to combat the calls and prosecute individuals or groups making them.

“Attorneys general are uniquely positioned and are on the front line in our states in terms of protecting consumers,” Attorney General Hunter said. “This commonsense legislation will allow us to better partner with federal agencies to come up with solutions that work best for each individual state. It will also help reduce the number of scam calls through technology, while imposing greater penalties on those making the calls.”

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