By the first of next year Mississippians may see a sharp drop in robocalls according to the state's attorney general. Mississippi has joined 50 other attorneys generals to fight robocalls.
Consumers have become so outraged with the onslaught of robocalls, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says phone companies are listening. Hood says he and 50 attorneys generals reached an agreement with 12 phone companies to block robocalls. He says the call-blocking technology will automatically verify calls are coming from a legitimate source.
"The originating phone company will put a token on that call and that token will basically verify that it's a legitimate number and it's not spoofed. So this is designed to block the spoofing," said Hood.
Spoofing is when the companies use technology to change the phone numbers the customers see to local area codes, in hopes they'll answer. John O'Hara with the Better Business Bureau says they constantly receive complaints about robocalls.
"Some individuals have gone out and bought devices that stop robocalls that make people actually identify themselves before the call goes through. It's something we shouldn't have to pay for," said O'Hara.
Hood says the call-blocking service is free. He says customers don't have to do anything. Hood says Verizon has the technology in place. Other companies involved in the agreement including AT&T, Sprint and Comcast have until the end of this year to implement the system. Hood says phone companies will monitor and analyze calls as well.
"They will participate in investigations of doing a trace back so when one does get through that we'll have the companies helping us trace it back to the originator," said Hood. .
Hood is convinced this will greatly reduce unwanted calls and make it easier to prosecute bad actors.