September 11, 2020
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office continues to set the bar nationally with robocall enforcement as it finalized a settlement agreement today requiring a major Texas-based Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider to implement strict, first-of-their-kind measures aimed at collaboratively stopping illegal robocalls.
This settlement agreement with All Access Telecom Inc. appears to be the first time a state attorney general or federal agency has been able to modify a VoIP service provider’s business practices to specifically clamp down on illegal robocalls.
The Attorney General’s office used complaints sent to the office by the public to trace an illegal robocall regarding a Social Security Administration scam to All Access, which had allegedly carried a foreign illegal robocall into the United States and onto a Michigan resident. As part of Nessel’s Robocall Crackdown Initiative, significant resources are provided to the public through the Attorney General’s website, including a complaint form specific to robocalls.
“My job is to ensure that we protect Michigan consumers and put a stop to as many illegal robocalls as we possibly can,” Nessel said. “All Access Telecom is a major wholesale VoIP service provider carrying billions of calls on its network to consumers all over the country. By instituting these strict know-your-customer and compliance measures to limit illegal robocalls, we believe we are setting the mark for providers and law enforcement agencies around the country.”
The settlement agreement requires All Access to:
Attorney General Nessel’s Robocall Crackdown Initiative continues to target VoIP service providers carrying illegal robocalls as these businesses are the major funnels used by scammers and others to cheaply and effectively make millions of illegal robocalls within minutes to consumers all over the country.
Since its launch in November, the Robocall Crackdown Initiative has made significant progress. Most recently, the Attorney General’s office opened a criminal investigation into voter suppression robocalls made to Detroit-area residents. In August, Nessel forced the shutdown of MODOK LLC, a VoIP service provider, for carrying illegal robocalls. In July, Assistant Attorney General Wisam Naoum was appointed by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to the FCC’s new Hospital Robocall Protection Group, an advisory committee required by Congress to issue best practices to protect hospitals from robocalls. In June, Nessel filed a federal lawsuit in Texas alongside six other states for an alleged robocall operation responsible for over a billion illegal robocalls. In May, Nessel also cosponsored a letter, which was joined by 51 other attorneys general, to USTelecom urging the association to further develop robocall traceback and other tools suited to law enforcement needs.
How to Report a Robocall in Michigan:
The best way to deal with robocalls is to simply hang up or don’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number. Important calls, including those from COVID-19 contract tracers, will likely leave you a voicemail. However, to aid investigators in their efforts to hold robocallers accountable, certain pieces of information are extremely helpful to the department’s efforts to investigate, particularly when submitted to the Attorney General’s office as part of an official complaint:
To file a robocall complaint and learn more about Michigan's Robocall Crackdown Initiative, visit the Attorney General’s website.