SC attorney general joins move to curb robocalls

March 7, 2019 GMT

FLORENCE, S.C. – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has joined 53 of his peers to urge a congressional committee to enact legislation to curb illegal robocalls.

Wilson was one of 54 attorneys general to sign a letter to Sens. Roger Wicker and Maria Cantwell urging the United States Senate to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act. Wicker, the Republican senior senator from Mississippi, is chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Cantwell, the Democratic junior senator from Washington, is the ranking member of the committee.

The attorneys general from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and three United States territories signed the legislation. The only territorial attorneys general not to sign were those from American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

“We all get robocalls and spoofed calls, where a scammer or telemarketer makes his phone number look like another number so you’ll answer,” Wilson said in a news release. “It’s a case of the bad guys using technology against us, so we’re urging Congress to do something to protect everyone.”

In the letter, the attorneys general say that the act enables states, federal regulators, and telecom providers to take steps to combat these illegal calls. The legislation would require voice service providers to participate in a call authentication framework to help block unwanted calls. It also creates an interagency working group to take additional actions to reduce robocalls and hold telemarketers and robocallers accountable.

More than 48 billion robocalls were made in 2018, making them the number one source of consumer complaints to the FTC and the FCC and resulting in millions in consumer losses. The state attorneys general work to enforce do-not-call laws and protect consumers in their states from being harassed and scammed by robocalls.

A robocall is a call made by an autodialer that delivers a pre-recorded message to the recipient of the call.

The act is in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. It was referred there on Jan. 16.

Wilson, a Republican, was reelected to the office of attorney general in 2018. He has served as the state’s attorney general since 2011. Wilson, whose mother is a native of Florence, graduated from Francis Marion University.