COLUMBIA, S.C. – A coalition of 12 phone companies has agreed to adopt eight principles to fight illegal robocalls.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office announced the agreement Friday between the phone companies and 51 state attorneys general.

The principles address the robocall problem in two main ways: prevention and enforcement.

Phone companies will work to prevent illegal robocalls by implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers, making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools, implementing technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source and monitoring their networks for robocall traffic.

Phone companies will assist attorneys general in their anti-robocall enforcement by knowing who their customers are so bad actors can be identified and investigated, investigating and taking action against suspicious callers – including notifying law enforcement and state attorneys general, working with law enforcement, including state attorneys general, to trace the origins of illegal robocalls and requiring telephone companies with which they contract to cooperate in trace-back identification.

Also, going forward, phone companies will stay in close communication with the coalition of attorneys general to continue to optimize robocall protections as technology and scammer techniques change.

“Robocalls are frustrating for all of us, because we all get them, and to make that frustration worse, it’s very difficult for us to do anything about them at the state level,” Wilson said. “This agreement should make a difference that will help us all, because it all involves all 50 states and D.C. and the major cell phone companies.”

The coalition of attorneys general, led by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, includes attorneys general from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The coalition of companies includes AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon and Windstream.

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