TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced the launch of a new Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force on Tuesday. The group will “investigate scammers operating outside of the United States” and includes attorneys general from all 50 states, according to Moody’s office.
The AG said the task force has a single goal: cutting down on illegal robocalls.
“My office is working with states across the nation to stop the influx of illegal robocalls originating overseas. These calls are often used to execute devious scams and steal from Americans — so it’s important that we work together to investigate these foreign phone calls and find ways to stop them from harming our citizens,” Moody said in a statement.
Moody’s announcement said there were more than 33 million scam robocalls made to U.S. citizens every day, according to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center.
Those robocalls reportedly include “government imposters” pretending to work for agencies like the Social Security Administration or the Internal Revenue Service. Her statement on the task force said the imposters were committing “fraud against seniors, online shopping scams and many other schemes.” In 2021, those efforts reportedly led to $29.8 billion in financial losses to American consumers.
“Ahead of today’s announcement, the task force issued 20 investigative demands to 20 gateway providers and other entities that are allegedly responsible for a majority of foreign robocall traffic,” Moody said in the statement. “Gateway providers that bring foreign traffic into the U.S. telephone network are responsible for ensuring the traffic is legal, but the task force believes these providers are not taking sufficient action to stop illegal robocall traffic. The task force will focus on the bad actors in the telecom industry to reduce the number of robocalls that consumers receive and to incentivize companies to follow the rules.”
The state AG also warned residents against callers saying they need payments from gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency, reminding them that the SSA would not normally call you on the phone.
Residents can work to block spam calls and text messages by registering their contact information with the Do Not Call Registry.
The registry works for all 50 states and is operated by the Federal Trade Commission. You can register your information or report unwanted calls online.
For Floridians, there’s a second option available through the Florida Do Not Call consumer resource, operated by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. While the federal option is open to all U.S. residents, the state-run version is also there for residents to use. Registering with the FDACS Do Not Call list is free and indefinite, meaning you pay nothing and keep your number in the database without a time limit to prevent unsolicited calls.