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Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is joining a multistate investigation into several companies that are allegedly responsible for robocalls across the country.

The 20 companies, labeled as "gateway providers," sell access to the United States telephone network. According to the attorney's general office, they have a responsibility to ensure the phone numbers they sell to their customers will be used legally. However, these providers are not taking enough action to stop robocalls.

“Everybody hates robocalls — and everybody gets them, including me. Minnesotans file more complaints about robocalls with our office than about any other single problem. I hear the same thing from other attorneys general around the country," Ellison said in a statement. "That’s why we’ve formed this bipartisan task force. Together, we’re taking the fight directly to anyone in the telecom industry who helps robocallers and scammers perpetrate their fraud on the public."

Ellison asks if anyone receives a scam robocall to make a note of the number calling and report it to his office. He also advises anyone who has been scammed to report it, because being silent is "what scammer want you to do."

Here are some tips for those who encounter robocalls:

  • If you suspect fraudulent activity, immediately hang up and do not provide any personal information.
  • Be aware of callers who ask you to pay by gift card, wire transfer or cryptocurrency.
  • Prerecorded calls from callers posing as government agencies.

According to a release, the unit investigating robocallers are focusing on the "bad actors" in the telecommunications industry to help reduce the number of calls being made and to urge companies to better follow the rules.

In 2019, 51 attorneys general, including Ellison, joined together in a contract with 12 major phone providers to provide consumers with free call blocking and implement a protocol known as STIR/SHAKEN, which prevents the annoying calls. 

“Above all, don’t hang on — hang up,” Ellison said. “We Minnesotans are polite folks who don’t like hanging up on others, even when they’re being rude or we suspect they’re trying to scam us. But scammers don’t deserve our politeness or respect, so protect yourself and your family and hang up immediately.”

Anyone with robocall issues is urged to call the attorney's general office at 651-296-3353 or 800-657-3787. You can also file a complaint online.

According to nationwide robocall data, more than 60% of calls made in 2021 were robocalls. In all, more than 50 billion of these calls were made in the same year.

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