Attorney General Yost asks FCC to help stop international scam calls

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Wants companies to verify that calls are from legitimate sources

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost recently urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help stop the flood of foreign-based illegal robocalls that attempt to scam Americans.

Yost joined with attorney generals from 49 states and the District of Columbia in sending a letter to the FCC asking that gateway providers, the companies that allow foreign calls into the United States, to take steps to reduce how easily robocalls have been able to enter the U.S. telephone network, including implementing STIR/SHAKEN, a caller ID authentication technology that helps prevent spoofed calls.

“The main gatekeepers at the front doors are working to keep these people out,” Yost said. “We need the gatekeepers to the back doors and the windows to get in the game.”

Gateway providers should be required to implement this technology within 30 days of it becoming a rule to help eliminate spoofed calls and to make sure that international calls that originate from U.S. telephone numbers are legitimate. In December, Yost and a coalition of 51 attorneys general successfully helped to persuade the FCC to shorten by a year the deadline for smaller telephone companies to implement STIR/SHAKEN.

The attorneys general are asking the FCC to require these gateway providers to take additional measures to reduce robocalls, including:

• Responding to requests from law enforcement, state attorneys general, or the FCC to trace back calls within 24 hours.

• Blocking calls when providers are aware of an illegal or likely fraudulent caller.

• Blocking calls that originate from numbers that are on a “do not originate” list – such as government phone numbers that are for incoming calls only.

• Ensuring that foreign telephone companies they partner with are ensuring that calls are being made from legitimate numbers.

The attorneys general are also encouraging the FCC to require all phone companies to block calls from a gateway provider if it fails to meet these requirements. Illegal robocalls are a scourge – in 2020, Americans lost more than $520 million through robocall scams.