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State

Illinois joins coalition to fight 'obnoxious' robocalls

November set a record for robocalls: Nearly 2,000 per second

Hello, this is a very important message. Did you know that you probably received more robocalls per day in November than any previous month in the history of recorded phone messages?

That disturbing trend has led attorneys general from Illinois and 38 other states to form an anti-robocall coalition, seeking technological and political solutions to reduce the number of nuisance calls.

“Robocalls are an obnoxious form of consumer harassment,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a news release. “I am pleased to be part of this bipartisan group that will provide people simple ways to avoid annoying and invasive robocalls.”

There were 5.1 billion robocalls made in November – a record 1,963 per second – meaning that the average person did in fact hear more annoying health insurance, easy-money and interest rate scam pitches than ever before, according to a monthly YouMail survey.

Chicago ranked fourth among cities with more than 164 million robocalls received last month, trailing only Atlanta, Dallas and New York, according to the survey.

The coalition of attorneys general has had meetings with several major telecom companies to push the carriers to “quickly develop and implement technology” that would identify and block robocalls for consumers. The states may also make recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission after determining the best possible solutions.

Scams and telemarketing account for 60 percent of robocalls, with payment requests, alerts and other reminders making up the balance, according to YouMail.

Last month, the FCC introduced a proposal to cut down on robocalls by creating a database of newly changed phone numbers to help “legitimate businesses” such as banks and pharmacies from mistakenly auto-dialing the wrong customers with payment and prescription reminders.

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2018 the Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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