Yost to co-host national summit to combat robocalls

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 11, 2021

COLUMBUS — To combat the scourge of robocalls, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel are setting aside a longtime interstate “rivalry” to host the National Association of Attorneys General 2021 Robocall Virtual Summit.

“Robocallers are like a plague of locusts, except that these locusts use 21st-century technology to swarm through the international telecommunications landscape deceiving, scamming and defrauding thousands of our constituents every day,” Yost said. “By joining together with our colleagues across the country, we hope to eliminate their hives.”

The Sept. 8-9 virtual event includes attorneys general from across the country. The first day is open to the public; the second is limited to government agencies.

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The goals of the summit are to:

• Share best practices.

• Identify successful lawsuits and other enforcement actions.

• Coordinate lawsuits and other enforcement actions.

• Establish links to share investigative information.

• Develop and lobby for legislation.

The battle against robocalls has been a priority for Yost since he took office in early 2019. In March 2020, he created the Ohio Attorney General’s Robocall Enforcement Unit to educate Ohioans about robocalls; receive and track robocall complaints; and, when possible, initiate legal action.

The unit created the “Just Don’t Answer” campaign, urging Ohioans to:

• Ignore calls from phone numbers they don’t recognize.

• Add their phone numbers to the Do Not Call Registry.

• Use apps to help them identify and block robocallers.

• Take advantage of robocall countermeasures offered by their phone provider.

To date, the Robocall Enforcement Unit has fielded more than 55,000 complaints about unwanted calls, with self-reported estimates of losses approaching $10 million.