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OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the launch of a nationwide Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force to investigate and take legal action against the telecommunications companies responsible for bringing a majority of foreign robocalls into the United States. This bipartisan nationwide Task Force has one goal: to cut down on illegal robocalls.
“For many Californians, robocalls are a daily, if not an hourly, source of frustration. And unfortunately, these illegal and unwanted calls can also lead to serious financial harm,” said Attorney General Bonta. “With this new task force, attorneys general nationwide are teaming up to cut down on illegal robocalls – and we're taking this fight directly to the telecom companies who are enabling them.”
The Task Force has issued civil investigative demands to 20 gateway providers and other entities that are allegedly responsible for a majority of foreign robocall traffic. Gateway providers that bring foreign traffic into the U.S. telephone network have a responsibility to ensure the traffic is legal, but these providers are not taking sufficient action to stop robocall traffic. In many cases, they appear to be intentionally ignoring illegal robocall traffic in return for steady revenue. The Task Force will focus on the bad actors throughout the telecommunications industry, to help reduce the number of robocalls that California’s residents receive and benefit the companies that are following the rules.
Attorney General Bonta is committed to stopping illegal and unwanted calls. According to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center, over 33 million scam robocalls are made to Americans every day. These scam calls include Social Security Administration fraud against seniors, Amazon scams against consumers, and many other scams targeting all consumers, including some of our most vulnerable citizens. An estimated $29.8 billion was stolen through scam calls in 2021. Most of this scam robocall traffic originates overseas. The Task Force is focused on shutting down the providers that profit from this illegal scam traffic and refuse to take steps to otherwise mitigate these scam calls.
Attorney General Bonta offers the following tips to avoid scams and unwanted calls: