On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission announced its participation in Operation Stop Scam Calls alongside its partners at the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and the Attorneys General from Ohio and Illinois. In addition, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, and other law enforcement partners, including attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, joined the announcement.
“The FCC is committed to using every tool at its disposal to crack down on illegal robocalls and protect the U.S. communications network,” said Loyaan Egal, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “We, alongside our partners, will not let up in tracking, prosecuting, and penalizing the bad actors in this space and protecting consumers.”
This initiative, “Operation Stop Scam Calls,” targets telemarketers, including those who use telephone calls to commit fraud, as well as those who facilitate illegal telephone calls. The federal and state initiative not only targets telemarketers and the companies that hire them but also takes action against lead generators who deceptively collect and provide consumers’ telephone numbers to robocallers and others, falsely representing that these consumers have consented to receive calls. The effort also targets Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers who facilitate illegal robocalls every year, which often originate overseas.
Under FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, the Commission has taken an all-hands-on-deck approach to combating scam robocalls and robotexts. The Enforcement Bureau has taken first-of-their-kind actions to block active robocall scam campaigns which is getting results including a 99% drop in auto warranty scam robocalls after an FCC action, an 88% month-to-month drop in student loan scam robocalls, and halted predatory mortgage robocalls targeting homeowners nationwide. The Bureau has issued record-breaking fines for illegal robocalls and spoofing; signed robocall investigation partnerships with 44 states, District of Columbia, Guam and international partners; and worked with industry to traceback illegal calls to their sources.
The Commission has also set forth new rules to close the gateways used by international robocallers to reach Americans’ phones. It has mandated the widespread implementation of STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication standards – including applying the requirements to gateway providers – and ensured that voice service providers meet FCC robocall mitigation requirements. And the FCC has established first-of-their-kind regulations targeting scam text messaging.