Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today announced that Maryland is joining a nationwide Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force of 50 states to investigate and take legal action against the telecommunications companies responsible for bringing foreign robocalls into the United States. The bipartisan Task Force has one goal: to cut down on illegal robocalls.
“Robocalls are more than an annoyance, they are often schemes by fraudsters and scammers with the purpose of stealing billions of dollars from unsuspecting Americans,” said Attorney General Frosh. According to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center, over 33 million scam robocalls are made to Americans every day. These scam calls include Social Security Administration fraud against seniors, Amazon scams against consumers, and many other scams targeting all consumers, including some of the most vulnerable. In 2021, scammers took $29.8 billion dollars through fraudulent calls, most of which originated overseas.
Gateway providers – the companies that allow foreign calls into the United States – cannot turn a blind eye to the illegal calls using their network. The Task Force will focus on companies that profit by facilitating fraudulent calls.
In the meantime, Attorney General Frosh offers the following tips to avoid scams and unwanted calls:
• Be wary of callers who ask you to pay by gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency.
• Look out for prerecorded calls from imposters posing as government agencies. The Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service don’t typically make phone calls to individuals.
• Don’t answer an incoming phone call when you don’t recognize the number, and don’t return calls to unfamiliar phone numbers.
• If you do pick up, don’t interact with the caller in any way, press numbers, or speak to anyone. Hang up the phone.
• Don’t provide any personal or financial information over the phone.
• Scammers may also text you. Don’t click on any links you receive in text messages.
• Register your phone number(s) with the Do Not Call registry online at www.DoNotCall.gov or by phone at 1-888-382-1222.
• File a “Do Not Call or Text” complaint at https://www.donotcall.gov/report.html.
• File a complaint with the Maryland Office of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection
Division at https://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/CPD/default.aspx.