Attorney General Josh Stein files suit against robocall facilitator hoping to curb nuisance calls

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 4:31 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - Everyone gets them — phone calls from a random number trying to get you to buy an extended warranty, or sometimes it’s someone pretending to be the government and trying to get you to send them money and gift cars. Robocalls have been a thorn in the side of many folks, including N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein.

Stein has fought these calls in the past but now he has filed a lawsuit against one of the companies that facilitated millions of these calls. The Texas Company Articul8 is being sued in federal court for allegedly providing the gateway for more than 65 million robocalls in just a few months to North Carolinians.

These calls are not only annoying, but often they are an attempt to scam people out of money. Stein said that folks lose millions of dollars every year due to robocalls.

“Articul8 also routed calls that were made to numbers on the Do Not Call Registry and came from spoofed numbers associated with the Social Security Administration, the FBI, and state and local police departments. The calls that Articul8 routed to North Carolinians included government imposter scams, auto warranty scams, computer security scams, Amazon imposters, and monthly bill scams, as well as a telephone attacks on a hospital emergency room,” according to Stein.

Even though most people just hang up or do not answer, with millions of calls, there are always going to be people who end up losing money to them.

Holding these callers accountable can be a struggle though since a lot of them originate outside of the United States.

“The only way telemarketers can inundate our phones with robocalls is with the complicity of gateway phone companies,” Stein said. “These phone companies turn a blind eye to illegal robocalls in order to make money on each call. It’s wrong. It violates state and federal law, and I won’t tolerate it.”

Stein says this new lawsuit will hopefully make the providers who are facilitating the calls think twice.

“The problem is, with so many of them abroad, we have to find a way to stop them from coming into the United States and the way we do that is going after the gateway telephone service providers that turn a blind eye to this illegal traffic just to make money off of each call,” he said.

And Stein said it was no accident.

“Articul8 knew what it was doing; it continued to allow these calls even after being warned by the telecom industry group that traces suspicious and illegal calls and by federal law enforcement about the calls it was accepting and routing into and across the country,” he said.

The lawsuit has been filed in federal court and will likely take some time before it is heard, but Stein said he is doing everything he can to put a stop to the calls.

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