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Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force Issues Warning Letters to Eight VoIP Providers
November 06, 2023
LANSING – Last week, the Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force issued warning letters to eight Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers that transmit calls across the nation, and appear to continue transmitting suspected illegal robocall traffic on behalf of one or more clients, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Per the warning letters, the targeted VoIP providers do not “appear to have taken sufficient steps … to identify, investigate, and mitigate suspected illegal call traffic that is accepted onto, and transmitted across,” the provider’s network.
The warning letters are “intended to serve as additional notification” to the VoIP providers “about the Task Force’s continuing concerns regarding its call traffic, and to caution” the providers they “should cease transmitting any illegal traffic immediately.” They were issued to the following providers:
- All Access Telecom, Inc.,
- Lingo Telecom, LLC,
- NGL Communications, LLC,
- Range, Inc.,
- RSCom Business, LLC,
- Telcast Network, LLC,
- ThinQ Technologies, Inc., and
- Telcentris , Inc. dba Voxox.
Attorney General Nessel announced the formation of the Task Force in August 2022. The nationwide Task Force is comprised of 50 attorneys general and was formed to investigate and take legal action against the telecommunications companies responsible for bringing a majority of foreign robocalls into the United States. This bipartisan nationwide Task Force has one goal: to cut down on illegal robocalls.
For any Michigan residents who suspect they may have been the victim of identity theft perpetrated by robocalls or other means, or would like to learn more about how to protect themselves, the Department has guidance for Identity Theft Prevention and Recovery available on its website. The Department has also issued guidance on Michigan’s telemarking laws and the Do Not Call Registry.
Attorney General Nessel has established her own in-state initiative to crackdown on Robocalls. According to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center, over 33 million scam robocalls are made to Americans every day. These scam calls include Social Security Administration fraud against seniors, Amazon scams against consumers, and many other scams targeting all consumers, including some of our most vulnerable citizens. An estimated $29.8 billion dollars was stolen through scam calls in 2021. Most of this scam robocall traffic originates overseas. Since 2019, a substantial reduction in Do Not Call Registry complaints from Michigan residents has been recorded and reported by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Alongside the FTC, Attorney General Nessel announced the nationwide Operation Stop Scam Calls in July of this year, a 50-state law enforcement sweep to crackdown on illegal telemarketing targeting operations responsible for billions of calls to U.S. consumers.
Attorney General Nessel offers the following tips to avoid scams and unwanted calls:
- Be wary of callers who ask you to pay by gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. For example, the Internal Revenue Service does not accept iTunes gift cards.
- Look out for prerecorded calls from imposters posing as government agencies. Typically, the Social Security Administration does not make phone calls to individuals.
- If you suspect fraudulent activity, immediately hang-up and do not provide any personal information.
- Contact our Consumer Protection Team at 877-765-8388.
- File a Do Not Call or Text complaint here.
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. A judgement was secured against other parties involved in this scheme in August 2023. 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.
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.