20 July 2023- Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown, along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other law enforcement partners nationwide – including Attorneys General from all 50 states and the District of Columbia – announced a new crackdown on illegal telemarketing targeting operations responsible for billions of calls to U.S. consumers.
The joint state and federal “Operation Stop Scam Calls” initiative builds on the efforts of Maryland and other state and federal partners to combat the scourge of illegal telemarketing, including robocalls. This initiative targets telemarketers and the companies that hire them, as well as lead generators who deceptively collect and provide consumers’ telephone numbers to robocallers and others, falsely representing that these consumers have consented to receive calls. It also targets Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers who facilitate tens of billions of illegal robocalls every year, most of which often originate overseas.
“Illegal telemarketers and robocallers are relentless intruders determined to deceive, steal, and invade the privacy of Marylanders – enough is enough,” said Attorney General Brown. “Consumers should never feel they could be in danger by simply answering a phone call. By joining ‘Operation Stop Scam Calls,’ we are taking a stand against these disruptive and harmful practices.”
In addition to joining the NAAG Robocall Technologies Working Group and Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force, the Maryland Attorney General’s office has joined a number of coalitions targeting those who distribute or facilitate billions of illegal calls in violation of state and federal laws. Recent actions include bringing a lawsuit against Avid Telecom for facilitating billions of illegal robocalls and submitting comments to the Federal Communications Commission supporting tougher requirements for the telecom industry to block illegal text messages and stronger consumer protections against unwanted text messages.
Today, the FTC announced five new cases against companies and individuals responsible for distributing or assisting in the distribution of billions of illegal telemarketing calls to consumers nationwide.
In addition to resources available on the Maryland Attorney General’s website and social media accounts, the FTC has a variety of materials aimed at helping consumers block unwanted telemarketing calls. This includes advice related to robocalls and other unwanted calls and information on how to spot and avoid phone scams at ftc.gov/calls (also available in Spanish at ftc.gov/llamadas). The FTC also has a new educational webpage at ftc.gov/RobocallScams that includes examples of real illegal robocalls, and steps consumers can take to avoid robocall scams.