Iowa’s Attorney General has joined in an agreement with his counterparts in the rest of the United States and several phone companies to try and cut back on robocalls.

Spokesman Lynn Hicks says the major carriers have signed on. “Including Centurylink and Spring, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon. And they’ve agreed to these principles and we think these principles and them agreeing to this is a big step toward preventing a lot of these calls,” Hicks says.

The principles include implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers; making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools; implementing technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source and monitoring their networks for robocall traffic.

He says the phone companies have agree to abide by these principles. “Well, there’s no specific time frame, but we expect they will implement these steps as soon as possible, as soon as practical,” Hicks says. Hicks says tracking down the people who are making the calls is not easy as some come from overseas, while others come from other states. “The spoof the numbers so it looks like it may be coming from an Iowa area code when it could be coming from anywhere.”

Hicks says the idea is to work together. “We hope that under these principles that they will do more to investigate these suspicious callers and notify law enforcement about them. And work with us to trace the calls and to generally coordinate with us in the process,” according to Hicks.

He says there is a hope that this agreement may give a push to Congress to get something done on the bills that are in the U.S. House and Senate. “You know they haven’t agreed to anything yet so we’re kind of going down this path to try and get as many voice providers to agree to these efforts,” Hicks says. “So people can certainly call their representatives in Congress and urge them to get to together and get a version of this bill passed.”

Hick says they hear complaints about robocalls all the time. He says they had a booth at the Iowa State Fair and that was the number one compliant from people. The phone companies are agreeing to stay in close communication with the coalition of attorneys general to continue to optimize robocall protections as technology and scammer techniques change.