Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III

TN AG: State joining nationwide effort to curb foreign robocalls

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III Monday announced that the state will be joining a nationwide Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force of 50 attorneys general to investigate and take legal action against the telecommunications companies responsible for bringing a majority of foreign robocalls into the United States. According to a press release, this bipartisan nationwide task force has one goal: to cut down on illegal robocalls.

“We wouldn’t be bombarded with robocalls if it wasn’t benefitting certain companies in the telecommunications industry,” said General Slatery. “These calls are not only a nuisance but a scam risk to many in Tennessee and nationwide. I appreciate my fellow attorneys general coming together to hold bad actors accountable.”

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III

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 turning a blind eye 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 Tennesseans receive and benefit the companies that are following the rules.

According to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center, more than 33 million scam robocalls are made to Americans every day. These scam calls include Social Security Administration fraud against seniors, Amazon scams, and many other scams targeting all consumers, including some of our most vulnerable citizens. Nearly 30 billion dollars was stolen through scam calls in 2021. Most scam robocall traffic originates overseas. The Task Force is focused on shutting down the providers who profit from this illegal scam traffic and refuse to take steps to stop it.

To avoid scams and unwanted calls: 

  • Be wary of callers who specifically ask you to pay by gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. For example, the Internal Revenue Service does not accept iTunes gift cards.
  • Look out for prerecorded calls from imposters posing as government agencies. Typically, the Social Security Administration does not make phone calls to individuals.
  • If you suspect fraudulent activity, immediately hang-up and do not provide any personal information.
  • Contact our Division of Consumer Affairs.

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