HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A nationwide task force will now investigate and take legal action against nearly a dozen telecommunications companies believed to be responsible for most foreign robocalls into the United States.

The goal of the Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force is to cut down on illegal robocalls, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced Tuesday. Connecticut is among 16 states on the executive committee leading the task force.

According to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center, Americans get over 33 million scam robocalls every day. These scam calls include Social Security Administration fraud against seniors, Amazon scams against consumers, and many other scams targeting all consumers.

“Robocalls are an intrusive and obnoxious menace, responsible for $29.8 billion in fraud last year alone,” Tong said. “If these telecom bad actors cannot police themselves, our Task Force will.”

On Tuesday, the bipartisan task force of 50 states issued 20 civil investigative demands to 20 gateway providers and other entities allegedly responsible for the vast majority of foreign robocall traffic.

Officials across the country accuse these providers of choosing not to ensure telephone traffic is legal in favor of steady revenue.

Tips to avoid scams and unwanted calls:

  • Be wary of callers who specifically ask you to pay by gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. For example, the Internal Revenue Service does not accept iTunes gift cards.
  • Look out for prerecorded calls from imposters posing as government agencies. Typically, the Social Security Administration does not make phone calls to individuals.
  • If you suspect fraudulent activity, immediately hang up and do not provide any personal information.
  • Help bolster investigations in Connecticut by reporting your robocalls to https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint/
  • File a Do Not Call or Text complaint here: National Do Not Call Registry

Tips for avoiding spam texts:

  • Consumers can report fraudulent texts to their wireless providers by forwarding them to 7726 (“SPAM”).
  • Don’t respond to texts that look suspicious, or come from an unknown number.
  • Don’t click links in suspicious texts.
  • Don’t provide any sensitive personal or financial information.
  • If a business sends you a text, call them to verify the communication using a valid number. Be aware that scammers may make their fraudulent numbers appear in a Google search, and be ready to accept your call. Try to use something other than a search engine to confirm the telephone number.