Press Release

Washington, DC — January 30, 2024 — The FCC’s Robocall Response Team today announced
that its recent actions with the Federal Trade Commission against international robocalls
appear to have reduced apparently illegal robocall traffic across multiple networks. In
November, the FCC and FTC sent separate, but coordinated, letters to specified gateway
providers – including CenturyLink, Tata Communications (America), and Bandwidth. The
FTC demanded the providers cease such activity and the FCC warned the providers of the
consequences of failing to prevent their networks from being used to process a high volume of
illegal traffic onto the U.S. network. Today, the two agencies report that this coordinated effort
appears to have had a significant impact in protecting consumers.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel:
“Coordination among federal partners is key when cutting off the scourge of illegal robocalls
from abroad. These results of our recent actions are clear: together we are stronger in our
efforts to protect American consumers from fraudulent and harassing international
robocallers.”

FTC Chair Lina Khan:
“Illegal robocalls are a scourge that waste Americans’ time and defraud them of money. VoIP
providers knowingly enable these scammers, allowing robocalls to proliferate on a massive
scale. The FTC will continue to crack down on upstream actors that facilitate fraud, and we’ll
keep working with the FCC to protect Americans in the fight against illegal telemarketing.”

What’s New?
The recent coordinated efforts by the FCC and FTC appear to have resulted in a decrease in the
volume of apparently illegal robocalls reportedly transmitting the networks of the seven
gateway providers warned by the agencies: Acrobat Communications d/b/a Telstar Express,
Bandwidth, CenturyLink, iDentidad Advertising Development, Tata Communications
(America), Telco Connection, and TeleCall Telecommunications. According to USTelecom’s
Industry Traceback Group, there has been a downward trend in tracebacks related to traffic
entering the U.S. network through these providers. Law enforcement entities and others
typically initiate tracebacks to identify the source of suspected illegal calls, and a decrease in
tracebacks pointing to a specific provider may be an indication of reduced illegal traffic.

How We Got Here:
On November 27, 2023, the FCC sent warning letters to seven gateway providers. At the same
time, the FTC alerted the same providers that this traffic was apparently illegal under its
robocall rules. The companies had received traceback requests from the Industry Traceback
Group concerning apparently illegal traffic that the companies transmitted as gateway
providers on behalf of overseas providers.

The FCC has, in recent years, bolstered its requirements on gateway providers to actively
combat illegal robocall traffic handed off to them from international networks. As the
November letters from the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau made clear to these companies, failure
by a gateway provider to take reasonable and effective steps to prevent their networks from
transmitting illegal traffic could ultimately result in an order by the FCC directing downstream
providers to block and cease accepting all of the gateway provider’s traffic. Recently
implemented authorities now place similar obligations on originating providers.

Getting Results:
The FCC’s Robocall Response Team serves as an FCC staff working group to combat the
unyielding menace of illegal spoofed, or scam, robocalls.

  • Blocking active robocall scam campaigns by issuing first-of-their-kind actions:
    o 99% drop in auto warranty scam robocalls after an FCC action;
    o 88% month-to-month drop in student loan scam robocalls;
    o Halted predatory mortgage robocalls targeting homeowners nationwide;
  • Fining companies record-breaking amounts for illegal robocalls and spoofing;
  • Closing gateways used by international robocallers to reach Americans’ phones;
  • Widespread implementation of STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication standards –
    including applying the requirements to gateway providers;
  • Working with industry to traceback illegal calls to their sources;
  • Ensuring voice service providers meet FCC robocall mitigation requirements;
  • Signing robocall investigation partnerships with 48 states, District of Columbia, Guam
    and international partners;
  • Establishing first-of-their-kind regulations targeting scam text messaging; and
  • Launching the Robocall Mitigation Database to monitor STIR/SHAKEN compliance.

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