Federal authorities in the United States and Canada have signed an agreement that will allow them to share information on robocalls and caller ID spoofing and cooperate on investigations and enforcement actions.
The new memorandum of understanding between the FCC and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission will allow the two agencies to share a wide range of information about complaints, investigations, technical solutions, and other topics.
“Robocall scams are as much of a menace to American consumers as they are to Canadians,” said Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “We know that a lot of these calls originate from outside the United States. It is imperative that we work with our counterparts around the globe to quickly identify the origin of these calls and to shut them down at their source.”
The FCC has been taking on robocalls in various ways for some time. The commission has encouraged carriers to come up with solutions on their networks, and earlier this year began a Robocall Strike Force that includes most of the major carriers, along with Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Robocalls have become a massive problem for both businesses and consumers in recent years, and many of them are associated with phone fraud scams, including the IRS fraud scheme and many others.
Caller ID spoofing is among the more difficult pieces of the robocall problem to solve. Freely available software and tools allow scammers to force any number to show up on a victim’s caller ID, making ti look as if a trusted entity is calling. One of the goals of the FCC’s strike force is to address the spoofing issue, which involves technical as well as policy solutions.
The MOU with the Canadian authorities is similar to one the FCC, FBI, and FTC are involved with known as the London Action Plan, which is an international group trying to address spam and other fraud activities.