Skip to main content

AG Nessel’s Efforts Result in Michigan Seeing Reduction in Robocall Complaints

LANSING The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reporting a reduction in Do Not Call Registry complaints by Michigan residents as well as an increase in the number of people in the state who have registered on the Do Not Call list, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced.

A report released by the FTC showed Robocalls as the most reported type of consumer Do Not Call complaint in Michigan. According to the FTC’s Do Not Call Data Book, Michigan residents filed 197,420 Do Not Call complaints in 2018 and 98,720 complaints in 2022, with a substantial reduction in complaints every year between 2018-2022.

This reduction can be seen in large part as a result of Nessel’s efforts to crack down on robocalls. With her Robocall Taskforce, Nessel has helped lead a national effort to reduce the number of unwanted automated calls Michigan residents receive. Since taking office, Nessel has also worked with state and federal partners to reduce the number of illegal robocalls.

“This report shows that our efforts to reduce robocalls and robotexts targeting Michigan residents are working,” Nessel said. “Once we began to hold bad actors accountable who knowingly route illegal robocalls through their networks, we saw a demonstratable decrease in calls. This tells us that regulatory intervention – or the fear of it – can help to stop these companies in their tracks.”

Robocalls are often facilitated by an organization that is pitching a product of dubious value and whose intent is to enrich themselves by gaining access to the call recipient’s money or personal information.

In March of 2023, Nessel won judgments shutting down a massive robocall operation based in Texas. The company’s owners had directed billions of illegal robocalls to people across the country and had bombarded Michigan consumers with more than 42 million robocalls in 2019 alone, including more than 19 million calls to people whose numbers were on the Do Not Call list. Nessel most recently joined a coalition of state attorneys general calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify the rules requiring telemarketers to obtain consent from a consumer before making robocalls.

Nessel also has joined a multistate lawsuit against Avid Telecom for allegedly initiating and facilitating billions of illegal robocalls to millions of people and violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and other federal and state telemarketing and consumer laws. Avid Telecom is alleged to have sent or transmitted more than 7.5 billion calls to telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.

In 2022, Nessel hosted the Second Annual Robocall Summit along with Ohio AG Dave Yost. The summit highlighted the problem of robocalls, what Michigan has accomplished in its efforts, and discussed tools to help reduce robocall numbers. Also in 2022, Nessel partnered with YouMail, a platform that uses traceback technology to determine the source of robocalls.

The Department of Attorney General and Nessel filed criminal charges in 2020 against two political operatives who orchestrated a series of robocalls aimed at suppressing the vote in the 2020 presidential election. The two operatives, Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl, were charged with intimidating voters and conspiracy to commit an election law violation, among other felonies. The FCC recently imposed a $5,134,500 fine against Burkman and Wohl, the largest in FCC history, for their robocalling conduct. Their criminal case is currently pending in the Michigan Supreme Court.

In addition, AG Nessel has joined efforts to cut down on unwanted text messages by supporting the FCC’s proposal to require wireless providers to block texts from invalid, unassigned, or unused numbers and from numbers on a Do Not Originate list. This is consistent with the Attorney General’s belief that the FCC’s illegal text message enforcement should be in line with its enforcement of illegal robocalls.

AG Nessel is committed to further reducing the number of illegal robocalls and texts coming to Michigan residents so that they become part of our state’s distant past.

The Michigan Department of Attorney General accepts complaints about robocalls via its online complaint form.


Media Contact: