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Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser speaks during a news conference in October 2019 in Denver.

Colorado has joined a bipartisan anti-robocall litigation task force that will investigate and prosecute telecommunication companies responsible for most incoming foreign robocalls.

The task force, consisting of 50 attorneys general, has reached out to 20 gateway providers and other entities that investigators say are at fault for a majority of the foreign robocalls, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said. Gateway providers are the entry points for foreign calls into the U.S.

According to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center, over 33 million fraudulent calls are made to Americans daily, with an estimated $29.8 billion dollar stolen through these calls.

The gateway providers have a responsibility to verify that all foreign telephone traffic is legal. The providers under investigation are not taking precautionary measures to protect U.S. citizens against scams and unwanted calls, and some appear to consciously ignore the foreign robocalls because of the profits collected from them, the task force alleges.

Investigators aim to shut down providers that gain revenue from these foreign scams.

“This multi-state task force is looking into specific cases where individuals are engaged in and are at risk of scams,” said Lawrence Pacheco, a spokesman for the Colorado Attorney General's Office.

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“We could see lawsuits by one or more AGs to stop the illegal robocall activity, which could include requiring the U.S. based provider to cease business with foreign entities suspected of robocalling, and civil fines,” he said.

The nationwide and bipartisan nature of the task force differentiates it from previous efforts to fight robocalls.

“In the past, each state had its own authority, but being able to come together, the states can cut down robocalls on a national scale. ... As a group, we can enforce the laws across all jurisdictions. A multi-state Task Force also promotes efficiency and avoids duplication,” Pacheco said.

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