State rolls out anti-robocall effort
COLUMBUS — A new anti-robocall initiative launched by Attorney General Dave Yost gives Ohio is adding more muscle to fight back against the growing nuisance of companies that flood phones with robotic telemarketing calls.
With National Consumer Protection Week underway, Yost announced the formation of a Robocall Enforcement Unit and the development of a tool that lets consumers report malicious robocalls to his office.
Ohioans were hit with an estimated 2.2 billion robocalls in 2019, according to YouMail, a service that tracks robocall traffic.
“Ohioans are tired of playing defense against annoying robocalls,” Yost said. “Now it’s Ohio’s turn to play offense — and we need your help.”
The new unit, part of Yost’s Consumer Protection Section, is dedicated to rooting out bad actors at every level of the robocall industry. The unit is made up of attorneys and investigators, including some who are already involved in legal action against companies responsible for the onslaught of calls.
The Robocall Enforcement Unit will take a multipronged approach to the problem by partnering with anti-robocall groups at the national level, investigating suspected violators, taking aggressive enforcement action and seeking legislation to expand the state’s authority over robocalls.
Yost is urging Ohioans to report calls to the unit by texting “ROBO” to 888111 and answering a set of questions that take less than a minute to complete. Consumers also can file complaints by visiting OhioProtects.org or calling 1-800-282-0515.
Even if a robocall does not cause a financial loss, reporting it to the Robocall Enforcement Unit can help investigators identify trends and protect other Ohioans from becoming victims.
When it comes to robocalls, Yost said, the bottom line is this: Just don’t answer.
Other tips to help combat robocalls include:
• Never interact with a suspected robocaller in any way.
• Avoid providing personal or financial information by phone.
• Register your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry online at DoNotCall.gov or by phone at 1-888-382-1222.
• Research services offered by your phone provider to block unwanted calls.
• Install a trusted and reliable app on your cellphone to block or warn of suspicious calls.
As part of the initiative, Yost also released a series of five informational videos focused on robocalls. The videos are available on YouTube.
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