May 26, 2023

Revenge of the AGs

Revenge of the AGs

There’s nothing more annoying than scrambling to answer what looks like a local call, only to find it’s a fraudster notifying you that the “IRS” is planning to sue you. Fortunately, it may be getting harder for these scammers to do their dirty work.

Almost every attorney general in the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, just joined forces on a lawsuit against a Voice over Internet Protocol provider that allegedly facilitated more than 7.5 billion calls on the Do Not Call Registry, according to this week’s news reports. The company allegedly sold the phone numbers, data, and dialing software that enabled the scammers.

The company denies the allegations, so we’ll see where all of this leads, but at least the case raises awareness of the trouble robocalls can pose. Although many of these crooks use canned approaches that are easy to spot, some are so polished they could trick a sophisticated businessperson—and now they’re moving on to text messages. One report found that Americans lost $65 billion to the scammers behind them in 2022 alone.

Of course, even if the crackdown does make it harder for robocallers, scammers will probably find greener pastures. Fraudsters are already invading QR-code menus, and who knows what’s next? There is, unfortunately, no end to their creativity. The only thing we can all do in a very connected world is to proceed carefully when anyone tries to communicate with us electronically. And in the meantime, don’t answer any potentially suspicious calls if your mind is on the debt ceiling talks or other big distractions.

On another note, today is the start of Memorial Day weekend and the “unofficial” start of summer. The weather here in the Northeast looks promising for the weekend. Memorial Day honors the men and women who gave their lives for our country while serving in the U.S. military and protecting the freedom that has always been the foundation of our culture. Thanks to all who have served and those who continue to protect our freedom as I write this.

Sometimes we take our freedom for granted, but it’s what allows us to pursue dreams like starting entrepreneurial companies, and it has been in decline around the world in recent years. In 2023, only 43% of countries worldwide were considered “free” in the Freedom House “Freedom in the World Index,” based on political rights and civil liberties.

For many of us, this weekend will also be the start of summer. I’ll be heading out to Long Island with Tracy and the kids, where I’m planning to fire up the barbecue, hit the links, take the dogs for our daily visit to the beach and enjoy some much needed time off with family and friends. With many people back to traveling, AAA is predicting it’ll be the third-busiest Memorial Day weekend in three decades, so I’m hoping to get off to an early start. If you’re flying, allow some extra time—news reports say flights will be very full. Happy Memorial Day everyone!