State Attorneys General, Telecom Companies Band Together on Anti-Robocall Effort

A group of attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., joined executives from 12 phone companies Thursday to announce a sweeping effort to combat the scourge of illegal robocalls dialing up millions of U.S. customers every year.

The set of anti-robocall principles and practices, unveiled at a press conference in D.C., would require the phone companies to take steps towards preventing the spam calls and work in tandem with law enforcement to take down illegal robocalling operations.

Under the deal between industry groups and the government, which is over a year and a half in the making, the companies — including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and Comcast — have agreed to implement call-blocking technology at no extra cost to customers, and offer their customers a range of “free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools.”

The phone companies agreed to a set of eight principles to cut down on the billions of illegal robocalls in the U.S. annually. The principles include a commitment to cooperate with law enforcement in investigations of illegal robocallers — who often operate overseas — as well as to confirm the identity of any new customers by collecting information on their business location, federal tax ID and more.