By BETT DAVIS
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s campaign against illegal robocalls gained a new ally in the form of help from the other Washington.
Washington state is partnering with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to share information and cooperate in investigating unlawful phone calls that use computerized auto-dialers to deliver pre-recorded messages.
“Robocall scammers should be on notice that we are constantly expanding our resources and expertise – Washingtonians are not easy targets,” Mr. Ferguson said in a Thursday press release announcing the inking of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the FCC. “I’m proud to partner with our federal colleagues to coordinate our fight against illegal robocalls. If robocalls are harassing you, please file a complaint with my office.”
FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel shared that sentiment.
“The FCC and state leaders share a common enemy: robocall scammers targeting consumers and businesses around the country,” she said in a prepared statement. “My team’s commitment to protecting consumers fits hand-in-glove with state Attorneys Generals’ ongoing efforts to combat these scams. We share a goal – to protect consumers – and agreements like this, we can also share the tools needed to achieve it.”
Per the memo of understanding, the FCC offers enforcement staff expertise and resources for investigations, during which both the FCC and state investigators interview witnesses, target companies, look into consumer complaints, and take other steps to build cases against robocall law violators.
This is the latest development in Mr. Ferguson’s efforts over the last two years to stop illegal robocalls.
In October 2021, Mr. Ferguson filed a suit charging Corvallis, Oregon-based Global Grid Telecom of illegally robocalling Washington residents with deceptive recorded messages, including – ironically – calls looking to sell a service called “MAX|Command” that the company claimed would stop unwanted spam phone calls. The case is ongoing.
In March 2021, Mr. Ferguson joined the Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of 39 other attorneys general, in announcing settlement against for-profit corporate fundraisers Associated Community Services, Inc. and Directele, Inc., as well as multiple corporations and individuals affiliated with them.
As a result of that settlement, the two national companies that made more than 1.7 million robocalls into Washington for sham charities will pay $495,000 to help fund legitimate charities.
In August 2020, two Ferguson-targeted Vancouver-based air-duct cleaning companies owned by the same man were ordered by a King County Superior Court judge to pay $10 million in civil penalties for engaging in deceptive advertising and unfair sales practices. US Air Ducts & Sky Builder Inc. and DLM Services made more than 13 million robocalls within the state from 2017 to 2019.