"Spoofing" robocalls becoming more widespread

Sep 13, 2018

The Attorney General of North Dakota says there has been a surge of complaints about robocalls that threaten arrest.

Robocalls are illegal in North Dakota. Wayne Stenehjem says the problem has become increasingly prolific statewide, and the scammers are even "spoofing" local North Dakota phone numbers to make the calls look like they are being made locally.

"If you call back to that number on your caller with your landlord, you get an honest, innocent North Dakota resident, and of course people who call those numbers back are very annoyed. And the people whose phone number it is that's being called of course are annoyed that now they're getting all these complaints about these illegal robocalls."

Stenehjem says the callers will leave messages threatening arrest if the calls are not returned immediately. He says some citizens whose numbers have been used have been called several times. He says authorities are currently working on a way to address this problem.

"The attorneys general of just about every state in the country wrote to the Federal Communications and Federal Trade Commissions, and told them - you know, phone companies are not like the post office, where if you put a letter in the post office it gets delivered. They're not required to further every single call. They know where these robocalls are originating. They are now adopting the position that we were right, that they don't have to put through every call, so the telephone companies are working feverishly to come up with their own technology to block these robocalls. So I think looking into the future that will help."

Stenehjem says calls like this are absolutely always a scam, so ignore them and report them to authorities.