Utah joins states urging FCC to adopt rules to stop illegal robocalls, spoofing

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is among 42 states calling on the Federal Communications Commission to combat the "noxious intrusion of illegal robocalls," 187 million of which were made to Utahns last year.

"It is evident that the explosive growth of caller ID spoofing and robocalls is being driven primarily by scams," according to a letter Attorney General Sean Reyes and 41 attorneys general signed.

Many robocalls fake the caller ID information to trick people into answering, a practice called "spoofing."

“Not only are these robocalls and spoof phone calls annoying, they’re illegal,” Reyes said.

The attorneys general delivered legal comments to the FFC urging the adoption of its proposed caller ID spoofing rules and enforcement. The rules would allow the FCC to fight calls originating outside the U.S. as well as spoofing using alternative voice and text messaging services.

"The exponential growth in unlawful scam robocalls is putting more and more of our vulnerable populations at risk. The commission’s new rules cannot come soon enough," according to the attorneys general.

Robocalls increased in the U.S. by 57 percent from 2017 to 2018. Additionally, in 2018, the FCC reports that Americans received almost 18 billion scam robocalls resulting in nearly $488 million in losses.

The attorney general's office and the Utah Department of Commerce receive many complaints every month.

Last December, Utah joined 40 states working with telecom companies to understand what is technologically feasible to minimize unwanted robocalls and illegal telemarketing.

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Dennis Romboy
Dennis Romboy is an editor and reporter for the Deseret News. He has covered a variety of beats over the years, including state and local government, social issues and courts. A Utah native, Romboy earned a degree in journalism from the University of Utah. He enjoys cycling, snowboarding and running.


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