Illinois Attorney General wants answers about robocalls

Robocalls could soon make up nearly half of all calls to cell phones next year and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan wants let phone carriers get more involved in curbing the practice.

Madigan is joining attorneys general from 33 other states to push the Federal Communications Commission to allow mobile phone providers to better go after automated calls on their networks.

“I urge the FCC to act quickly and encourage providers to develop and implement new detection and blocking technology as soon as possible,” Madigan said.

Jonathan Sasse, marketing executive with FirstOrion, a company that provides blocking services, said nearly 30 percent of phone calls made to a cell phone this year were from scammers. He expects the problem to get much worse.

“Looking at existing trends, we predict that nearly half of all calls to our mobile phones by next year will be scammers,” Sasse said.

Automated calling technology has become so inexpensive. Some services advertise online that they can make “millions of calls” for less than a penny a minute.

According to a release from Madigan’s office, the Federal Trade Commission received 4.5 million complaints regarding illegal robocalls in 2017, two and a half times more than it received in 2014. Illinois consumers filed nearly 300,000 complaints about robocalls last year.

A Harris poll found that Americans have been swindled out of $9.5 billion annually by robocall scammers.

The federal Do-Not-Call list doesn’t stop operations based outside of the United States.

“The Do-Not-Call List doesn’t work,” Sasse said. “Especially when you’re dealing with criminals.”

Sasse said the best way to fight them yourself is to look into your mobile carrier’s existing blocking services.

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