In 2020, Americans fell for scam calls 270% more often than in 2019
The Industry Traceback Group (ITG), established by USTelecom | The Broadband Association in 2015, plays a central and ever-growing role in the battle against illegal robocalls. Relying on the cooperation of hundreds of domestic and foreign voice service providers, the ITG traces back each day numerous examples of the most prolific ongoing illegal robocall campaigns in the United States, representing millions of illegal calls targeting U.S. consumers.
The ITG, designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the official U.S. Traceback Consortium, prides itself on its close partnership with government agencies to provide information they need to bring enforcement against the perpetrators of illegal robocalls. The ITG regularly collaborates with dozens of distinct federal and state enforcement agencies, and ITG tracebacks have supported enforcement actions targeting nearly 50 individuals and entities. The ITG stands ready to assist additional agencies in bringing illegal robocallers to justice.
In a late 2020 report to Congress, the FCC reported that ITG tracebacks have “accelerated the investigation process,” allowing “a traceback that would have taken at least four separate subpoenas and 2 to 3 months to complete … successfully traced back in less than 24 hours.”
How a traceback works
The origination, delivery, and termination of robocalls involves numerous voice service providers in a complex ecosystem. Using a secure traceback portal developed by the ITG, suspected illegal robocalls are traced systematically back through various networks until the ITG identifies the originator of the suspicious calls, where the calls entered the United States if internationally originated, and often the identity of the calling party. The ITG traces the call back from the recipient to the caller – usually routing through 4 or more, or sometimes as many as 9 or 10 service providers (or “hops”) across the globe.
The ITG regularly traces back calls based on requests from law enforcement and government partners. The calls the ITG traces back run the gamut from high-volume fraud campaigns to telephony denial-of-service attacks against public safety and other critical entities to spoofed calls posing safety-of-life threats. The traceback process can overcome spoofing to identify the source of illegal robocalls.
Please note that there are limits to the number of tracebacks the ITG can run, and therefore the ITG cannot guarantee that it will conduct every traceback requested of it. For more guidance on submitting traceback requests, please see here.
Supporting the ITG
The ITG relies on the support and collaboration of over 40 leading companies from across the wireline, wireless, VoIP, and cable industries. If you are interested in supporting the ITG, please review the ITG’s Policies and Procedures for more information and click here to make an inquiry.