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Major Phone Companies Promise To Do More To Combat 'Annoying' Robocalls

A call log displayed via an AT&T app on a cellphone. (John Raoux, AP)
A call log displayed via an AT&T app on a cellphone. (John Raoux, AP)

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's office has joined a multistate effort to combat illegal robocalls.

The attorneys general have partnered with major phone companies, who are promising to do a better job to block, trace and identify the calls.

“Robocalls are invasive, annoying, and harmful to the American people,” said Healey. “We’re pleased our multistate group brought telephone companies to the table to implement a new set of principles and technologies that will block many of these robocalls from reaching consumers.”

The state AGs say phone companies will offer call-blocking tools free to all but traditional landline users. They will also investigate suspicious calls and calling patterns and trace illegal robocalls back t their source.

Americans get nearly 5 billion calls from scammers, telemarketers, debt collectors and others every month. The agreement echoes some steps already taken by regulators and Congress, which is working on anti-robocall bills.

The Federal Communications Commission has called on phone companies to block unwanted calls and expects carriers not to charge. It also calls on them to make sure caller ID numbers are real.

The agreement doesn't have a timeline.

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