Virginia AG Miyares joins colleagues in push to end telemarketing calls
Economy, Politics, U.S. & World

Virginia AG Miyares joins colleagues in push to end telemarketing calls

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The emails, the calls and the texts from unknown addresses and phone numbers.

We all get them and we look at them because we are unsure if we want to get them.

But Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and 28 state attorneys general are calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take a tougher stand against companies that trick consumers into agreeing to receive telemarketing and texts.

“Sleazy ‘lead generators’ try to trick people into consenting to receive spam calls or texts from hundreds of companies they’ve never heard of and never want to hear from. We are asking the FCC to toughen the rules on consent requirements so Virginians only hear from organizations they agree to,” Miyares said.

The FCC is proposing to amend its rule on consent to close a so-called “lead generator loophole.” Lead generators are entities that collect personal information, including telephone numbers, from consumers and sell it to third parties, who then use that information to solicit consumers to purchase goods or services.

“Telemarketers, voice service providers and scammers need people to call (and/or text),” the attorneys general said, so lead generators have “proliferated into a billion-dollar industry.”

A common lead generator practice is to offer a consumer a quote for a good or service online, such as for insurance products, and in order to receive the quote, the consumer has to agree to receive calls or texts from the lead generator’s “marketing partners.”

The attorneys general urge the FCC to draw a “clear line in the sand,” adopting a rule where consumers can consent to be called by a single seller, and that there be a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” of the consequences of providing the requested consent.

Joining in the letter are attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.