Monday March 1, 2021
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Attorney General Andy Beshear is calling on federal regulators to allow telephone service providers to block more illegal robocalls being made to Kentuckians.

Beshear and more than 30 state attorneys general detail in their letter that scammers have devised methods to evade a call blocking order issued by the Federal Communications Commission last year.

Beshear said at issue is “neighborhood spoofing,” a technique allowing scammers – no matter where they are located – to appear on Kentuckians’ caller ID as being from a phone number that has the same local area code – 270, 502, 606 or 859.

“Protecting Kentuckians from the constant barrage of unwanted scams and robocalls is an ongoing priority of my office,” Beshear said. “We must strengthen the protections to our citizens when scammers strengthen their ploys to deceive them.”

In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received 4.5 million illegal robocall complaints – two and a half times more than in 2014.

Beshear said his Office of Consumer Protection receives more than a thousand complaints each year with respect to illegal calls, including scam calls, telemarketing complaints and robocalls.

Beshear encourages Kentuckians to use the National Do Not Call Registry provided by the FCC.

Beshear and his office are fighting to stop con artists and are asking Kentuckians to report scams and identity theft via his office’s online form.

Earlier this year, Beshear announced nearly 2,200 Kentucky small businesses would get money back from a Michigan-based company that allegedly sold scam services.

Beshear recommends all Kentuckians stay ahead of scammers by signing up for his office’s Scam Alerts. To enroll text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV-311 (468-311) or online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.

Attorney General Andy Beshear said Kentuckians are the winners in a recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to continue to restrict ringless robocalls.

Beshear opposed a recent petition by All About the Message LCC to exempt these direct-to-voicemail calls from federal consumer protections.

Beshear joined attorneys general from Massachusetts and New York in early June to urge the FCC to crack down on the national onslaught of robocall messages and oppose ringless robocalls. The attorneys general contend that this exemption would have further opened the floodgates to more harassing calls and messages.

The FCC denied the petition in late June.

“It’s a win for everyone who hates robocalls, which is all of us,” Beshear said. “My ongoing priority is to fight against costly, annoying and unwanted calls.”

Beshear said the federal government’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act protects consumers from unwanted and intrusive calls, including ringless robocalls.

The FCC’s Robocall Strike Force reports that robocalls are the number one source of complaints it receives, with consumers receiving an estimated 2.4 billion robocalls per month in 2016.

The letter sent by the attorneys general highlights that ringless robocalls prevent consumers from blocking unwanted messages with many of the latest call blocking apps for mobile phones.

In addition, whether they ring or not, “robocalls can impose significant costs on consumers, especially those with prepaid cellphones or limited minutes who are charged for checking their messages,” Beshear said, adding that consumers with limited size voicemail boxes may miss important messages when their voicemail is clogged with unwanted messages.

The FCC provides a National Do Not Call Registry.

Attorney General Andy Beshear announced he joined with attorneys general from Massachusetts and New York to urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to crack down on the national onslaught of robocall messages and oppose ringless robocalls.

In the joint comment letter sent last week, Beshear, AG Healey and AG Schneiderman oppose a petition requesting ringless robocalls, which deliver voicemails to consumers without causing their phones to ring, be exempt from consumer protections under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

In the petition filed by All About the Message, ringless robocalls would be exempt from the protections arguing that they should not be considered “calls.”

The attorneys general contend that this exemption further opens the floodgates to more harassing calls and messages.

“Protecting Kentuckians from the constant barrage of unwanted scam and robocalls is an ongoing priority of my office,” said Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear. “We must strengthen the protections to our citizens, not clear the way for costly, unwanted calls.”

“Massachusetts residents already face a constant barrage of harassing, intrusive and unwanted robocalls,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “Granting companies a free pass to push ringless voice messages to consumers’ phones just adds more robocalls and causes significant financial harm to those who are charged for checking their messages.

“New Yorkers are already the victims of countless unwanted phone solicitations,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “The federal government has a basic responsibility to protect American consumers. That certainly doesn’t mean making it even easier for companies to spam them costly, unsolicited, ringless robocalls.”

The purpose of the TCPA is to protect consumers from unwanted and intrusive calls. The FCC’s Robocall Strike Force reports that robocalls are the number one source of complaints it receives, with consumers receiving an estimated 2.4 billion robocalls per month in 2016.

The letter points out that these ringless robocalls prevent consumers from blocking unwanted messages with many of the latest call blocking apps for mobile phones. In addition, whether they ring or not, robocalls can impose significant costs on consumers, especially those with prepaid cell phones or limited minutes who are charged for checking their messages. Consumers with limited size voicemail boxes may miss important messages when their voicemail is clogged with unwanted messages.

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