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Yost Launches New Effort to Combat Robocalls

photo of a cell phone
Ohioans received more than 2 billion robocalls last year.

Ohioans got 2.2 billion robocalls just last year – and the state attorney general says that number has been going up every year. He’s launching a new effort to crack down on the system that has flooded cell phones and work and landlines with robocalls. 

Attorney General Dave Yost says robocalls made without customers’ consent are illegal – for instance, offering to lower credit card rates or demanding money for unpaid taxes.

“Make no mistake about it – these things are not currently legal. They’re just hard to get to. And we’re going to go after them," Yost said.

Yost is working with lawmakers to get more authority to go after not only the robocallers but also the voice-over-internet protocol or VOIP providers responsible for the surge in robocalls.  And he’s asking people who answer robocalls to immediately text ROBO to 888111, triggering a message from his office asking for more information.

“This is going to help us develop trends and identify targets," he said.

But he says the way to get off robocallers’ lists is to never answer calls from unknown numbers.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.