Virginia, Maryland and D.C. have joined a nationwide task force to fight the onslaught of robocalls coming from overseas.
The newly formed anti-robocall task force intends to target telecommunication companies that are gateway providers — companies that bring foreign robocalls into the U.S.
An estimated 33 million scam robocalls are made daily to U.S. numbers, according to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center.
Authorities plan to investigate and mount legal action against the companies. The goal of the task force it to cut down on illegal robocalls.
“Robocalls are more than an annoyance. They are often schemes by fraudsters and scammers with the purpose of stealing billions of dollars from unsuspecting Americans,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said.
Last year, robocalls that mostly originated overseas bilked nearly $30 billion from victims, according to a statement from Frosh’s office.
Robocall scams have pretended to be coming from Amazon, the Social Security Administration, the IRS and more.
Frosh gave 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.
- Be on the lookout for calls posing as government agencies. The Social Security Administration and the IRS don’t typically make phone calls to individuals.
- Don’t answer incoming calls when you don’t recognize the number and don’t return calls to unfamiliar numbers.
- If you do pick up, don’t interact with the caller in any way, press numbers or speak to anyone. Hang up.
- Don’t provide any personal or financial information over the phone.
- Scammers may also text you. Don’t click on any links you receive in text messages.
- Register with the Do Not Call registry or call 888-382-1222.
- File a “Do Not Call or Text” complaint with the National Do Not Call Registry.
- File a complaint with the Maryland Office of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
WTOP’s Abigail Constantino contributed to this report.