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Attorney General Herring reaches agreement with phone companies to fight illegal robocalls

The agreement involves 12 phone companies to adopt eight principles to fight illegal robocalls across the country.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia's Attorney General Mark Herring and 51 other attorney generals announced on Thursday they made an agreement with major phone companies to fight illegal robocalls. 

The agreement involved 12 phone companies to adopt eight principles to fight illegal robocalls across the country. This agreement will help protect phone users from illegal robocalls and make it easier for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute robocalls.

"This agreement provides us with a comprehensive approach to combatting the robocall epidemic that folks are experiencing here in Virginia and around the country,” said Attorney General Herring.

The agreement focuses on two main ways to stop robocalls: prevention and enforcement.

Here's the breakdown of the anti-robocalls principals.

If you cannot see the principals above, click here.

RELATED: US House passes bill to protect Americans from robocalls

“Robocalls are not only annoying but they can also be potentially dangerous and could scam Virginians out of hundreds if not thousands of dollars," Herring said. "With these principles, we will be able to attack illegal robocalls from both sides by attempting to stop them from coming through and also having more tools to investigate and prosecute them. I want to thank these companies for working with us to come up with solutions to these problems and I hope they will work on implementing them as quickly as they can.”

From now on, phone companies will stay in close communication with the coalition of attorneys general to continue to optimize protections as technology and scammer techniques change.

The coalition of companies includes AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, and Windstream. 

The Attorney General has the following tips for Virginians to help manage robocalls: 

  • Don’t answer calls from numbers you do not recognize.
  • If it’s an unwanted robocall, hang up.
  • Don’t press any numbers. This could lead to even more calls, even if the robocall claims you can press 1 to speak to a live operator or press a number to get your number off the calling list. 
  • Register your home and mobile phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register. 
  • Report robocalls to the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov. Federal and state law enforcement officials have access to the complaints filed through the National Do Not Call Registry. 
  • Contact your phone service provider and ask about available robocall-blocking technology.
  • Consider using mobile apps or other features that may already be built into your phone to block robocalls.

RELATED: End of robocalls? Phone companies can block them for you, FCC rules