On August 22, state attorneys general from all fifty states and the District of Columbia, in conjunction with large telecom companies, unveiled a new agreement to combat robocalls. This is the latest step from the government and the telecom industry to address this growing problem as Americans get nearly 5 billion automated calls every month.

Participating companies include heavyweights AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and CenturyLink, among others.

Under the voluntary agreement, the participating companies promise to:

(1)   provide consumers with free call-blocking technology and labeling;

(2)   provide consumers with voice technology that prevents a caller from providing an unauthorized calling number to the receiving party;

(3)   monitor network traffic for patterns consistent with robocalls;

(4)   investigate and trace illegal calls;

(5)   confirm the identity of new commercial Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) customers;

(6)   require that contracts with other, smaller voice-call carriers mandate cooperation with call-tracing efforts;

(7)   provide prompt and complete responses to law enforcement inquiries; and

(8)  update state attorneys general regarding recent trends and solutions to combat illegal robocalls.

Ensuring smaller voice-call carriers cooperate with call-tracing efforts may assist with reducing the volume of illegal telemarketing and spoofed calls as these smaller carriers sometimes are the perpetrators of illegal calls. While the agreement may not stop illegal calls altogether, it will help in efforts to track the originators and facilitators of illegal robocalls.