Mar. 8, 2019 (DENVER, Colo.)—Attorney General Phil Weiser has joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general representing 54 states and territories urging the U.S. Senate to pass the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. This legislation would provide additional enforcement tools to the federal government and to state attorneys generals to crack down on unwanted robocalls. This move is the latest in a series of measures Weiser has taken to bring Colorado to the forefront of bipartisan efforts to address this challenge.
“In Colorado and across the country, unwanted robocalls are a real and growing menace. When it comes to stopping these annoying robocalls, our office is committed to cooperating across state, party, and agency lines to protect Colorado consumers. The TRACED Act is a step in the right direction, and I am proud to support it,” Weiser explained.
Among other things, the TRACED Act prioritizes efforts to ensure phone carriers implement STIR/SHAKEN, a technology that would substantially assist consumers in filtering and blocking unwanted robocalls and other phone-based spam. The legislation also establishes an Interagency Working Group that would enable Colorado to coordinate more closely with federal regulators in combatting this crisis.
The Colorado Attorney General’s office top complaint is unwanted robocalls. Last year, Coloradans received an estimated 120 million robocalls—averaging out to more than 20 such calls per Colorado resident. According to a study mentioned in a February FCC report, nearly half of all cell phone calls in the U.S. in 2019 will be spam, and 90 percent of those spam calls will be from a familiar area code.
In response, since taking office Weiser has made robocall prevention a top policy priority. Under Weiser’s leadership, Colorado has joined the Executive Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) robocall task force, putting his office at the forefront of bipartisan efforts to work with phone carriers and others to address these unwanted calls.
While in Washington, D.C., this week, Weiser met with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to discuss how Colorado could coordinate with federal regulators to address this challenge. Furthermore, in the coming months, the Attorney General’s office plans to revamp and upgrade its consumer education materials to better inform Colorado consumers about how to protect themselves from robocalls and scams.
On this final point, the Office of the Attorney General has the following advice: “When it comes to robocalls, we encourage consumers to just hang up the phone. Do not press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other number to get your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls. We also urge Coloradans to consider contacting their phone provider and asking them to block the number, and whether they charge for that service.”