Vermont Attorney General calls robocalls ‘gateways for fraud,’ vows to crack down

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Around 160,000 robocalls come into Vermont each day. The Attorney General’s Office is calling on Vermonters to speak up so they can continue to hold scammers accountable.

“Robocalls are sort of like an electronic mosquito,” said Sen. Randy Brock. “We constantly find them buzzing around our head and occasionally, they bite and actually take blood.”

Attorney General TJ Donovan says two-thirds of all robocalls are scams. He’s reached a settlement with an American company, Strategic IT Partner.

“These calls, they pull at peoples heart strings, they threaten them, they scare them,” Donovan said. “Vermonters are losing real money as a result of this.”

The AG says foreign scammers can’t call Vermonters directly, they have to rely on a U.S. based phone company to route the calls. He says a targeted Vermonter was affected by a Social Security scam. The Attorney General’s office traced the call to an unknown source in India and, identified Strategic IT Partner as the intermediary.

“These phone companies act as gateways for fraud,” Donovan said. “That’s what we’re focused on today and going forward.”

Under the settlement, Strategic IT Partner now must verify the legitimacy of all future calls. If it doesn’t do that, the company will face a $60,000 fine.

The state has also introduced a new online scam reporting tool. Donovan says information like the date and time, and the context of the call, are crucial to tracking down those responsible. Last year, the state received over 5,000 from Vermonters reporting scam robocalls.

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