North Carolina Attorney General fights robocalls in the state

Updated: Nov. 13, 2020 at 6:07 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - We’ve all gotten those non-stop calls, and while you might ignore them sometimes, it’s hard when your phone just keeps ringing.

“Your phone is constantly buzzing and it’s a bit obnoxious,” said Juliana O’Rork.

She’s talking about robocalls – something a lot of us have gotten more times than we can count.

“I actually had a very close friend lose – I want to say around $800 - and she felt so stupid afterwards. She didn’t want anyone to know, because she felt like an idiot but at the time, she was put into a position where she felt a lot of pressure so she sort of caved,” O’Rork said.

Robocalls put people at higher risk of being the victim of scams. People lose hundreds of millions of dollars to them every year.

“Robocalls are a scourge,” said NC Attorney General Josh Stein. “There’s no other way to put it. They annoy you and me, but they don’t exist to annoy us, they exist to take money from vulnerable people.”

When Stein says they’re after your money, he’s not kidding.

“We at the Attorney General’s office get complaints totaling millions of dollars a year of losses,” Stein said.

In Charlotte, Stein says, there were 38 million robocalls placed just last month.

The challenging part is - these robocallers exist everywhere and anywhere. They utilize internet technology to carry out their scheme.

“I brought an action just a few weeks ago against a robocaller based in Texas and we got an order to make him stop while the litigation is commencing, but other robocallers are abroad and it makes it much harder for us to get our hands on them,” said Stein.

His word of advice whenever you get one of these suspicious calls - is to hang up.

Then, call the person back yourself.

“Call the IRS, call your grandchild, call the Red Cross and find out was it actually them who made the call and more times than not, it wasn’t.”

O’Rork always has her guard up and ignores calls from numbers she doesn’t know, but still worries about an older generation.

“Especially when you start to think of your parents or grandparents. They may not know as much, they may not be as tech savvy. It’s pretty devastating,” said O’Rork.

There is progress being made in the fight against robocalls.

Attorney General Stein led a coalition of 51 attorneys general and 12 companies to outline the Anti-Robocall Principles, - principles the companies agreed to take on to fight robocalls.

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