COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, along with 51 other attorneys general, today encouraged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to facilitate continued collaboration between states and telecom companies to help trace illegal robocalls to their source.
“Every spear needs a tip,” Yost said. “A call-tracing collaboration between state attorneys general and the telecom players who route the traffic will sharpen our ability to protect Ohioans.”
Under the TRACED Act, which became law in December 2019, the FCC will select a single registered association to manage the work to trace back illegal robocalls. Because a call can pass through the networks of many telecom companies before reaching its final destination, tracing that call – which is key to enforcing laws against illegal robocallers – requires collaboration between telecom companies and state attorneys general.
In their comments, the attorneys general note that traceback investigations are necessary for law enforcement to more efficiently identify and investigate illegal robocallers and expose voice service providers that assist and facilitate illegal robocallers.
For the past several years, attorneys general have encouraged the telecom industry to increase the number and speed of traceback investigations each month. Many telecom companies have joined this effort and are working hard to stop illegal robocallers. Traceback investigations are more urgent than ever because of coronavirus-related robocall scams, including those related to coronavirus relief checks, pitches for coronavirus test kits, health plans offering coronavirus testing, work-from-home offers preying on job-seekers and scams offering relief for utility bills, student loans, taxes or other debt.
Since 2018, Ohio has been a member of a coalition of 45 states working with the telecom industry to combat robocalls by implementing commonsense business practices to minimize illegal robocalls and to trace these calls back to their source.
In March, Attorney General Yost rolled out his office’s Robocall Enforcement Unit to combat the problem. Ohioans can report unwanted robocalls by texting “ROBO” to 888111, visiting OhioProtects.org or calling 1-800-282-0515.
Attorney General Yost is joined in submitting today’s comments by the attorneys general of every state, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.