Attorneys General and phone companies team up to fight robocalls

Attorney General Josh Stein says robocalls are the greatest frustration he hears about from North Carolinians. (Source: Gray DC)
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- The phone rings.

It's a number with your area code, but not one you recognize. What do you do? Answer? Wait and see if the caller leaves a voice mail?

It happens too often. Solicitors frequently spoof telephone numbers to make it look like the call is coming from a local area. In North Carolina, it's illegal. The state legislature passed a bill last month to require callers to use their real name and number on caller ID. But Attorney General Josh Stein says it still happens.

"We just did a survey online and we found that there were 10,00 people in just a matter of days who signed this, demanding we take action," said Stein

In an initiative led by Stein, Attorney Generals from across the county are now working with the nation's largest phone companies to prevent robocalls from happening. Stein announced in a Washington DC press conference that twelve companies including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and US Cellular have agreed to join the fight against these calls.

Alaska Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson joins 51 Attorneys General and 12 companies in the fight.

“Illegal robocalls harass Alaskans every day, and consumer fraud often originates with an illegal robocall," said Attorney General Clarkson. "It is important for phone companies to both assist law enforcement in identifying the origin of illegal robocalls, and to assist consumers by blocking as many robocalls as possible.”

The companies will implement call-blocking technology, monitor their networks for robocalls, work with law enforcement to trace the origins of illegal calls, and, if necessary, take action against the scammers.

"These criminals will call every phone they possible can identify," said Stein. "And that's why it's really important that government and the private sector work in partnership to bring peace and quiet into people's homes."

Stein says robocalls are the greatest frustration he hears about from North Carolinians and he's not the only one. Just before summer recess, both chambers of Congress passed legislation to fight the calls as well.

Channel 2's Gilbert Cordova contributed to this story

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