The State of Texas is joining a nationwide Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force with 49 other states to investigate and take legal action against the telecommunications companies responsible for bringing a majority of foreign robocalls into the United States. This bipartisan nationwide Task Force has one goal: to cut down on illegal robocalls, Texas Attorney General Paxton announced Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, in a news release.
The Task Force has issued 20 civil investigative demands to 20 gateway providers and other entities alleged to be 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 turning a blind eye to robocall traffic, Paxton contends in the release. The Task Force is designed to help reduce the number of robocalls Texans receive and provide incentives to companies that are following the rules.
“Robocalls have become a nationwide problem and I’m proud to join my fellow Attorneys General to put a stop to the incessant interruptions these calls inflict on Texans every day,” Attorney General Paxton said. “We will take this fight to all who assist or enable these scam calls. If the telecom industry refuses to create and comply with reasonable regulations, then our Task Force will demand compliance.”
According to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center, over 33 million scam robocalls are made to Americans every day. These scam calls include phony Social Security Administration calls to seniors, Amazon scams against consumers, and many other frauds targeting consumers, especially vulnerable citizens. An estimated $29.8 billion dollars was stolen through scam calls in 2021. Most of this scam robocall traffic originates overseas. The Task Force is focused on shutting down the providers that profit from this illegal traffic and who refuse to take steps to prevent these scam calls, Paxton reported in the release.
The AG offers the following tips 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, do not provide any personal information and immediately hang up.
- File a Do Not Call or Text complaint here: File a Consumer Complaint | Office of the Attorney General (texasattorneygeneral.gov) or print and mail the form below o: Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, PO Box 12548, Austin, TX 78711-2548. You will need the following information to file a complaint:
- The name of the business or individual you’re filing a complaint against
- The business/individual’s full address, including zip code
- A detailed description of your complaint
- Explanation of how you came into contact with the business/individual
- Transaction dates and amounts
- Contract information (when appropriate) with payment details
- How you may have attempted to resolve the dispute, including the names of people you spoke with.