Attorney General Becerra Calls on FCC to Block Robocalls from Fake Caller ID Numbers

Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block robocalls made from fake or “spoofed” caller ID numbers. The FCC is currently considering rules to help eliminate these unlawful calls and Attorney General Becerra, along with 29 attorneys general, submitted a letter to express his support for the adoption of the rules. The California Attorney General’s Office has long been a leader on this issue, pressing the FCC and telecommunications companies to do even more by providing call-blocking technology to consumers. Robocalls are the number one consumer complaint reported to the FCC.

“As families gather around the dinner table each night, they shouldn’t be bombarded by unwanted robocalls,” said Attorney General Becerra. “But robocalls made from fake numbers are more than just a nuisance – they’re illegal. We should be doing everything in our power to eliminate these types of calls, which far too often lead to identify theft and financial loss. The proposed rules are a good, but modest first step toward protecting consumers in California and across the country. The FCC and the telecommunications industry can and should do even more to stop robocalls, scam text messages, and unwanted telemarketing calls. That includes providing every landline and wireless customer with access to free and effective call blocking tools.”

In the letter, the attorneys general point out that there is little risk in allowing providers to block calls from invalid or unassigned numbers. “Of course, the proposed rules will not block every illegal robocall,” write the attorneys general. “Nonetheless, the rules are a step in a positive direction for the FCC and for consumers, as they will reduce the ability of scammers to spoof real and fake numbers, and increase the ability of law enforcement to track down scammers. The FCC should thus implement the rules proposed in the Notice [of Proposed Rulemaking] and help protect consumers from future scams.”

When he assumed office, Attorney General Becerra made protecting consumers a top priority. Since then, he has announced a $33 million multi-state settlement with Johnson and Johnson for marketing over-the-counter medicines that failed to meet quality standards; a $586 million multi-state settlement with Western Union for wire fraud scams; and a record $18.5 million multi-state settlement with Target over data security failures that contributed to the compromise of 40 million customers' payment card information during the 2013 holiday season. He has also called on Congress to oppose the Financial CHOICE Act, which would gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

A copy of the letter is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news

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