AG News Release: Attorney General Shikada Works to Stop International Scam Calls

Posted on Jan 11, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – Hawai‘i Attorney General Holly T. Shikada urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to put in place measures that will help stem the tide of foreign-based illegal robocalls that attempt to scam Americans. Today’s comment letter to the FCC was led by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

“Combating robocalls to protect consumers from malicious scams should be one of the top priorities of the FCC,” Attorney General Shikada said.  “Implementing the latest technologies, assisting law enforcement, and instituting needed policies are just a few of the measures that could make a difference in addressing this pervasive problem.”

Attorney General Shikada joined a bipartisan group of 51 attorneys general calling for the FCC to require gateway providers – the companies that allow foreign calls into the United States – to take steps to reduce how easily robocalls have been able to enter the U.S. telephone network, including implementing STIR/SHAKEN, a caller ID authentication technology that helps prevent spoofed calls. Gateway providers should be required to implement this technology within 30 days of it becoming a rule to help eliminate spoofed calls and to make sure that international calls that originate from U.S. telephone numbers are legitimate. In December, Attorney General Shikada and a coalition of 51 attorneys general successfully helped to persuade the FCC to shorten the deadline by a year for smaller telephone companies to implement STIR/SHAKEN.

The attorneys general are asking the FCC to require these gateway providers to take additional measures to reduce robocalls, including:

  • Responding to requests from law enforcement, state attorneys general, or the FCC to trace back calls within 24 hours.
  • Blocking calls when providers are aware of an illegal or likely fraudulent caller.
  • Blocking calls that originate from numbers that are on a “do not originate” list – such as government phone numbers that are for incoming calls only.
  • Ensuring that foreign telephone companies they partner with are ensuring that calls are being made from legitimate numbers.

The attorneys general are also encouraging the FCC to require all phone companies to block calls from a gateway provider if it fails to meet these requirements. Illegal robocalls are a scourge – in 2020, Americans lost more than $520 million through robocall scams.

Attorney General Shikada is joined in sending this letter to the FCC by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

A copy of the letter is available HERE.

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For more information, contact:

Gary H. Yamashiroya

Special Assistant to the Attorney General

Email:  [email protected]

Web: http://ag.hawaii.gov

Twitter: @ATGHIgov