By Bruce Byrd, AT&T Communications Chief Legal Officer
(This post originally appeared on Mr. Byrd’s LinkedIn page.)
Robocalling in the United States has reached a tipping point. Fraudsters have been using robocalls – or automated phone calls – to scam some of the most vulnerable members of society.
These scams are illegal and hurt Americans, and at AT&T we take it personally.
I recently participated in a Department of Justice (DOJ) industry forum on tech-support fraud, hosted by U.S. Attorney General William Barr. The forum brought together officials from Apple, Microsoft, and Google, among others, whose customers are impacted by fraud schemes such as illegal robocalls.
At the forum, I shared the important efforts underway at AT&T to fight back against robocalls and how law enforcement can be a part of the solution. Below are a few highlights.
We’re providing our customers with industry-leading, accurate robocall blocking tools, free of charge.
- AT&T has automatic in-network systems that have labeled or blocked billions of unwanted or illegal robocalls.
- Our mobility customers can get extra protection using AT&T Call Protect to block fraud calls and get screen alerts for suspected spam.
- AT&T phone landline customers can get similar protection with Digital Phone Call Protect.
And we’re working hard with other voice providers on call authentication – a system to verify that an incoming call is really coming from the number listed on the caller ID display. We recently announced a major milestone in testing call authentication between voice providers and will offer it to customers later this year.
We are engaged with federal law about improving enforcement actions.
AT&T is working with law enforcement to protect consumers and help prosecute robocallers. I was impressed with the dialogue at the event and encouraged to see the Justice Department announce the largest-ever nationwide elder fraud sweep.
We are constantly working to identify the source of illegal robocalls – most of which originate overseas – and reporting the fraudsters to law enforcement. The collaboration on display at the DOJ is a great start, and we look forward to combating the problem together to seek prosecutions and help stop these types of scams.
I want to thank Attorney General Barr for convening a critical conversation about how industry and law enforcement can jointly take action against robocallers.