Utah joins FTC, law enforcement in national crackdown on illegal robocalls

Stock image, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — State and federal officials have joined in reporting a major crackdown on illegal robocalls. Their efforts include 94 actions targeting operations around the country that are responsible for more than one billion calls pitching a variety of products and services, including credit card interest rate reduction services, money-making opportunities and medical alert systems.

The Utah Department of Commerce Division of Consumer Protection announced last month that it has joined the Federal Trade Commission and law enforcement partners to conduct “Operation Call it Quits,” part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to help stem the tide of universally loathed prerecorded telemarketing calls. It also includes new information to help educate consumers about illegal robocalls, and the FTC continues to promote the development of technology-based solutions to block robocalls and combat caller ID spoofing.

“We’re all fed up with the tens of billions of illegal robocalls we get every year,” Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a press release. “Today’s joint effort shows that combating this scourge remains a top priority for law enforcement agencies around the nation.”

Operation Call it Quits includes four new cases and three new settlements from the FTC alone. The U.S. Department of Justice filed two of the new cases on the FTC’s behalf. Collectively, the defendants in these cases were responsible for making more than a billion illegal robocalls to consumers nationwide. Today’s announcement brings the number of cases the FTC has brought against illegal robocallers and Do Not Call violators to 145.

Utah’s Division of Consumer Protection will support the federal crackdown by providing consumer education tips on how to combat robocalls through social media, the Division websites and news reports.

“Robocalls continue to disrupt our daily lives with the aim to steal your money or worse, your personal information. Our goal is to help educate consumers so they feel empowered with the latest information available to the public,” said Division Director Daniel O’Bannon. “The Utah Division of Consumer Protection is grateful to the strong actions our federal and fellow state partners are taking against this deceptive industry.”

The FTC’s one-stop shop for consumers looking for information on what to do about robocalls and other unwanted calls can be found at ftc.gov/calls. In addition to updated articles and infographics, consumers will find three new short videos about stopping unwanted calls. Consumers looking for additional information on ways to limit illegal robocalls can click here.

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