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Utah AG asks FCC to hasten rollout of system to prevent illegal robocalls

Utah officials are asking the FCC to speed up implementation of new system that further curbs illegal robocalls. Photo: Canva.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office and the Utah Division of Consumer Protection say people are sick and tired of the never-ending stream of annoying and illegal robocalls.  They’re calling for federal officials to speed up the rollout of technology that could prevent many of these calls from being made.

How many times have you been contacted about your car’s extended warranty? Has “a law enforcement agency” ever contacted you about a warrant for your arrest? Or, have you received a pre-recorded message from the Fraternal Order of Police asking for donations?

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These are some of the more popular outgoing messages scammers are using these days. Division of Consumer Protection Director Daniel O’Bannon says scammers can essentially spoof any number to trick people into picking up the phone. 

“To me, the most egregious example of this that I had a few years ago was when my own cell phone number called my cell phone,” O’Bannon says.

There is a system already in place that can weed out many calls from spoofed numbers. It’s called STIR/SHAKEN, and O’Bannon says larger telecommunication companies have already integrated this technology into their systems.

“What the STIR/SHAKEN protocols do is create a process where calls are more carefully validated,” O’Bannon said.

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Smaller companies have until June 2023 to implement STIR/SHAKEN. And O’Bannon says that delay may be part of the problem.

“Some of these smaller companies, a subset of these smaller companies, are originating a really high volume of these calls,” he said.

O’Bannon and the Utah Attorney General’s Office want the FCC to move that deadline ahead by a full year.

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“We’re saying move the deadline from 2023 to 2022,” according to O’Bannon.

Both offices say robocalls are among the top complaints they receive.