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(STL.News) – Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai recently appointed Michigan Assistant Attorney General Wisam Naoum to the FCC’s new Hospital Robocall Protection Group. Naoum is one of only three state government officials from around the country selected by the FCC and will represent the Michigan Department of Attorney General on the committee, which also includes representatives from the federal government and various telecoms and health care groups. While the recent illegal robocall boom has been a major problem for all Americans in recent years, the caller-ID spoofing and other targeting of phone lines associated with hospitals and other health care-related entities are particularly problematic and dangerous.
“AAG Naoum’s selection for this committee is a clear example of Michigan’s leadership on a national scale to rein in the millions of illegal robocalls that have annoyed people for far too long,” Attorney General Nessel said. “The group will look specifically at ways to address robocalls for hospitals and health care providers, and continue the progress toward reasonable measures that will better regulate robocalls.”
“The Michigan Hospital Association, which represents all Michigan hospitals and health systems, is pleased to see Assistant Attorney General Wisam Naoum appointed to the FCC’s Hospital Robocall Protection Group,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “Hospitals have been under attack from disruptive and often malicious robocalls for too long; the work of this group will go a long way to decrease risk and improve operations for hospitals. We look forward to Michigan again being a partner and leader on a national health care improvement effort.”
Pursuant to the TRACED Act, which targets robocalls and was passed into federal law in December 2019, the FCC is required to form an advisory committee to address this issue. Specifically, the Hospital Robocall Protection Group will issue best practices regarding the following:
How telecom carriers can better combat unlawful robocalls made to hospitals;
How hospitals can better protect themselves from such calls, including by using unlawful robocall mitigation techniques; and
How the federal government and state governments can help combat such calls.
Announced on July 14 by the FCC, the Hospital Robocall Protection Group is comprised of members from the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission, state government officials, hospitals, telecom providers that serve hospitals, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) providers, companies focused on mitigating robocalls, and consumer advocacy groups.
For more information about the Hospital Robocall Protection Group, visit the page on the FCC’s website.
Since its launch in November, the Attorney General’s Robocall Crackdown Initiative has made significant progress.
Most recently, Attorney General Nessel filed a federal lawsuit in Texas alongside six other states for an alleged robocall operation responsible for over a billion illegal robocalls. In June, AG Nessel joined 51 other attorneys general in encouraging the FCC to facilitate continued collaboration among state attorneys general and telecom companies to coordinate tracing back illegal robocalls to their source through a single FCC-sanctioned industry group. In early May, Nessel also cosponsored a letter, which was joined by 51 other attorneys general, to USTelecom urging the association to further develop robocall traceback and other tools suited to law enforcement needs.
How to Report a Robocall in Michigan:
The best way to deal with robocalls is to simply hang up or don’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number. However, to aid investigators in their efforts to hold robocallers accountable, certain pieces of information are extremely helpful to the department’s efforts to investigate, particularly when submitted to the Attorney General’s office as part of an official complaint:
- Robocaller’s phone number;
- Your phone number and service provider (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.);
- The date and time of the robocall;
- Whether the robocall was soliciting goods or services; and
- The topic of the robocall scam (e.g. student loans, Social Security numbers, IRS liability, etc.).