AG Hood Leads National Support of Federal Legislation Combatting Illegal Robocalls

March 5, 2019

Attorney General Jim Hood is taking another step in stopping robocalls by supporting federal legislation known as the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED).

The TRACED Act would assist in combating illegal robocalls by requiring industry-wide implementation of call authentication protocols. Also known as STIR/SHAKEN, this framework helps voice providers prevent spoofed calls because each telephone service provider connecting the call will obtain a digital certificate verifying the calling number. The legislation would also establish an Interagency Working Group, protect carriers who inadvertently block legitimate calls, and penalize people who repeatedly seek access to phone numbers for illegal purposes.

“I don’t know a person in Mississippi who isn’t fed up with the endless amount of robocalls, and as attorney general, this is one more step I’m taking to put an end to it,” General Hood said. “This legislation has broad bipartisan support because it’s something that is affecting everyone.”

General Hood is joined by 54 other state and territory attorneys general in sending the attached letter of support to the authors of the legislation. During an annual meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General this week, General Hood and others will meet with Senators Ed Markey (D- MA) and John Thune (R- SD) to discuss the problem of robocalls and to express their support of the TRACED Act.

“There are no blue robocalls or red robocalls, just unwanted robocalls. This bipartisan effort from all of the nation’s attorneys general is a powerful statement that we need to take action now to stop the scourge of robocalls and robotexts and that there is support from all corners to do so. I thank our leading law enforcement officials for their support for the TRACED Act,” said Sen. Markey.

Unwanted telemarketing calls have been on the rise over the last few years. In 2018, robocalls increased by more than 36%. As chief legal officers of the states and territories, attorneys general lead the enforcement of do-not-call laws and aid consumers who are scammed by illegal calls.

In addition to his support of the TRACED Act, General Hood previously joined the Mississippi Public Service Commission in publishing a guide for consumers with helpful information to block or filter unwanted calls. He also joined a bipartisan coalition of 34 other attorneys general in calling upon the Federal Communications Commission to create new rules allowing telephone service providers to block more of the illegal robocalls. Additionally, General Hood is part of a multistate working group of AGs that is reviewing the technology used by major telecom companies to combat these calls. The group hopes to develop a detailed understanding of what is technologically feasible to minimize unwanted robocalls and illegal telemarketing as well as to engage the major telecom companies and encourage them to expedite the best possible solutions for consumers.

In addition to General Hood, the attorneys general or a staff representative attending Tuesday’s meeting with Sens. Markey and Thune include AG Jason Ravnsborg (SD), AG Doug Peterson (NE), AG Gordon MacDonald (NH), AG Josh Stein (NC), and AG Jeff Landry (LA).

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