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March 26, 2019

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Nevada among states to call on feds to silence robocalls


John Raoux / AP

This Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, file photo, shows a call log displayed via an AT&T app on a cellphone in Orlando, Fla. The app helps locate and block fraudulent calls, although some robocalls do get through. A federal appeals court has rolled back rules intended to deter irritating telemarketing robocalls, saying they were too broad.

Phones across the country buzz relentlessly with pesky, unsolicited automated calls on the other line.

Nearly 6 billion such calls were placed in just the second quarter of 2018, according to Hiya, a call-blocking service, which notes that on average, each phone was targeted 24 times in the three-month period.

To curb the trend, Nevada this week joined 33 other states to formally petition the Federal Communications Commission to create rules that would further empower phone companies to block those illegal calls, Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s office announced Tuesday.

This would clear the way for new technology to authenticate legitimate calls while identifying and blocking “spoofed” calls, and those that come from legitimate phone numbers, the AG’s office wrote in a news release.

If allowed, the technology would start functioning next year and would not interfere with Nevada’s do-not-call law, officials said.

A coalition of attorneys general last year successfully lobbied the FCC to implement similar rules, but spammers have found ways to bypass guards.

For example, they “spoof” calls by making it appear a call is from a number with the same area code, which is more likely to be answered, officials said.

“Illegal robocalls scam unsuspecting Nevadans out of their hard-earned money,” Laxalt said in the release. “While these scammers are extremely difficult to track, my office is doing its part to influence policy decisions to rein in robocallers.”