In an overhauled effort to stop robocalls, 12 major phone carriers agreed to a pact with all 51 state attorney generals including the District of Columbia to do exactly that on Thursday.
Calls from scammers, telemarketers, debt collectors and others is a growing problem.
According to the agreement, the phone companies will offer call-blocking tools for free to customers. Old copper landline users are an exception in the pact due to technical hurdles. Most major companies offer this, but some charge for some or all of the services. Companies will also block calls for everyone at the network level, landlines included.
In the agreement, carriers will deploy technology that can label caller ID numbers as real. Many scammers use faked numbers to get people to pick up.
The state AGs are also asking companies to quickly figure out where illegal robocalls are coming form when asked by law enforcement.
The telecom companies involved are AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated Communications, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon and Windstream. Not included are Altice and Cox, cable companies with millions of customers, as well as many small rural telecoms.