Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem announced today that a coalition of 51 Attorneys General has reached an agreement with twelve national telephone companies, under which the phone companies will take immediate steps to help protect customers from illegal robocalls. The agreement also will make it easier for the Attorneys General to locate, investigate, and prosecute bad actors.

“For too long, phone customers have been harassed by a barrage of illegal robocalls, seemingly without any recourse. With the help of the phone companies, unscrupulous scam artists will not be able to hide behind a curtain of technology any longer,” said Stenehjem.

The participating phone companies have agreed to implement call-blocking technology at no cost to customers, monitor their networks for robocall traffic, and utilize technology to ensure that calls to customers are coming from a legitimate source.

To assist the attorneys’ general anti-robocall enforcement efforts, the phone companies will investigate and take action against suspicious callers, including notifying law enforcement and the state attorneys general, trace the origins of illegal robocalls and require phone companies to cooperate in traceback identification efforts to find the initiating caller.

“These telephone companies are in a better position than anyone to know when their users are making thousands upon thousands of calls, and to realize when these entities are nothing but scammers,” stated Stenehjem. “Besides the sheer volume of these illegal calls, our biggest challenge has been locating the source of the calls. The promise of the telephone providers to trace these illegal calls will make it possible for us to determine who is making them so we can prosecute or fine them,” he continued.

Phone companies have agreed to cooperate with attorneys general to continue to enhance robocall protections as technology and scammer techniques change.

The coalition of attorneys general, led by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, includes attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The participating telephone companies are AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, and Windstream.