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AG Nessel Joins Bipartisan Fight Against Nuisance Robocalls with U.S. Supreme Court Filing
March 10, 2020
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently joined a brief filed last week with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing for the preservation of the anti-robocall provisions of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
The TCPA, enacted in 1991, is a critical piece of federal consumer-protection legislation allowing states to sue illegal robocallers on their residents’ behalf. A recent decision in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals invalidated a portion of the act, potentially jeopardizing the entire federal robocall ban.
The case, Barr et al. v. American Association of Political Consultants Inc. et al., is now before the Supreme Court. Nessel joined the coalition of 33 states in signing the brief, which was co-authored by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and North Carolina Attorney General Joshua Stein.
“Michigan is leading the charge in putting a stop to robocalls and I’m proud to stand alongside my fellow attorneys general in filing this brief,” Nessel said. “The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is a critical tool needed to take action against illegal robocallers and we can’t afford to lose it.”
Efforts in Michigan
Attorney General Nessel kicked off a robocall crackdown in November 2019 with state and federal partners to begin a comprehensive response to the issue. Since then, the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team has received more than 2,400 robocall complaints.
More than 1.5 billion robocalls were received by Michigan residents in 2019, and interest in the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s Robocall Crackdown Team has consistently grown since the initiative’s November launch. As of today, more than 1,750 people have signed up to be a part of the Robocall Crackdown Team.
“Michiganders must remain on the lookout for potential scammers and protect themselves by safeguarding their personal and financial information,” Nessel said. “If you are contacted by someone you believe to be a scammer, do not provide them any information and simply hang up the phone.”
The best way to deal with robocalls is to hang up or don’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number. However, to aid investigators in holding 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 filed online:
- Robocaller’s phone number;
- Your phone number and service provider (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.);
- The date and time of the robocall;
- Whether the robocall was soliciting goods or services; and
- The topic of the robocall scam (e.g. student loans, Social Security numbers, IRS liability, etc.).
Please note: Robocalls to landlines cannot be traced back so any complaints about landline calls cannot be used to further the department’s investigation.
To learn more about Michigan’s initiative to crackdown on robocalls, visit the Attorney General’s website.
Click here to view a copy of the brief filed earlier this month with the U.S. Supreme Court.