PROMO Technology - Cell Phone Call Hands - iStock - Oleksil Spesyvtsev

North Carolina clamps down on robocalls

© iStock - Oleksil Spesyvtsev
Nadia Ramlagan

(North Carolina News Service) North Carolina's Attorney General Josh Stein recently won a lawsuit shutting down a massive robocall operation out of Texas

According to the Attorney General's office - in 2019 and 2020 alone - the companies Rising Eagle Capital Group LLC, JSquared Telecom LLC, and Rising Eagle Capital Group-Cayman bombarded North Carolinians with more than 75 million robocalls. 

Stein said Americans lose about $30 billion each year to fraud by scam callers, who intimidate consumers with threats of arrest. 

"They'll pretend to be someone they're not - 'hey, we've got a sheriff with warrant out for your arrest,' or 'the IRS says, if you don't pay us, we're going to charge you with a federal crime,'" said Stein. "And people panic. And when you panic, you make decisions that you later regret."

The state of North Carolina sued the defendants in June 2020 alleging violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, as well as various state consumer protection laws. 

Last year the Federal Communications Commission proposed new rules that would require phone companies to set up filters for robo-text messages, in addition to calls. 

Stein said he and fifty other attorneys general are calling on big phone companies to develop new technologies capable of screening out more robocalls.

"We're also going after the companies called gateway providers," said Stein, "which are American phone companies - very small - that are essentially the funnel through which these international illegal robocalls come into the American phone system."

He added that the best way to avoid robocalls is by not picking up the phone if you don't recognize the number. 

Residents can report unwanted calls by dialing the state's robocall hotline at 844-8-NO-ROBO.