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July 6, 2017

Media Contact: Liz Brocker (701) 328-2213

BISMARCK, ND - Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem joined Attorneys General from across the country in submitting comments to the Federal Communications Commission, to urge enactment of new rules to block robocalls and caller ID spoofing.

“Illegal robocalls are more than just an annoying interruption. They are easy money makers for scam artists, who use computer software not only to generate millions of calls every day but also to display a false number on the caller ID to hide their location,” said Stenehjem.

In the letter, the Attorneys General urge the FCC to allow telephone service providers to block calls from unassigned and invalid numbers, and to provide assistance to people whose actual telephone number has been hijacked by scam artists spoofing the caller ID.

“Legitimate businesses do not need to use any of these [spoofing] methods to contact consumers. Allowing providers to block these calls would stymie scammers without burdening businesses,” the Attorneys General wrote in their comments.

A report issued in October 2016 by the FCC’s Robocall Strike Force said telemarketing calls were the number one consumer complaint.

Stenehjem said the Consumer Protection Division receives dozens of complaints every week about robocalls. The majority of complaints involve the fake IRS call, the “lower interest rate” scam and the “auto warranty offer” scam, but increasingly the complaints are from consumers whose own numbers have been hijacked by the scam artists.

  • Stenehjem reminded North Dakota consumers never to answer a call from an unfamiliar number, even if it appears to be from the North Dakota 701-area code.
  • If you do answer a call, do not respond to the option to press a number to be taken off the call list; doing so merely confirms that your phone number is valid and will result in even more calls.

The FCC is taking comments on the proposed new rules through July 31, 2017, and is expected to issue its rule later this year. 

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Read the Comments to the FCC

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