W.Va. AG fights robocalls with bipartisan group

December 9, 2018 GMT

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey joined a bipartisan group of 40 attorneys general to stop or reduce annoying and harmful robocalls.

The coalition is reviewing the technology major telecom companies are pursuing to combat illegal robocalls, which can make it appear that the incoming call is coming from a legitimate source, such as a well-known financial institution, business and/or government entity.

“We hear your concerns,” Morrisey said in a release. “Our office receives numerous calls from West Virginia consumers annoyed by the prevalence and frequency of robocalls. By joining forces, I believe our coalition can work with the telecom companies and produce real results to quell these intrusions and stop scammers from taking advantage of West Virginians.”

The multistate group has had in-depth meetings with several major telecom companies, according to the release. The productive nature of these meetings has led to greater information sharing about the technological capabilities already in existence or in development to fight these calls.

The coalition is working to:

Develop a detailed understanding of what is technologically feasible to minimize unwanted robocalls and illegal telemarketing.Engage the major telecom companies to encourage them to expedite the best possible solutions for consumers.Consider further recommendations the states should make to the Federal Communications Commission.

The coalition’s efforts will enhance West Virginia’s ability to enforce anti-spoofing legislation passed earlier this year, which prohibits any seller and/or telemarketer from misrepresenting his or her caller identification data so as to deceive the call’s recipient.

Together, the coalition’s success and recent legislation will bolster the state’s ability to hold accountable those who spoof, or otherwise misrepresent, their call identification data to prey upon West Virginia consumers, Morrisey said in the release.

Morrisey, in the meantime, suggests consumers should not answer calls from unrecognizable numbers and never share personally identifiable, financial and otherwise sensitive information without verifying the legitimacy of the recipient.

The coalition, led by North Carolina, Indiana and New Hampshire, also includes West Virginia and attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.