COLUMBUS -- Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on Thursday announced 12 phone service providers have agreed to adopt anti-robocall practices as part of an initiative with his office and 50 other attorneys general.

The agreement with Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and other service providers will help protect consumers from illegal robocalls and make it easier for AGs to investigate and prosecute bad actors.

“This agreement brings phone service providers on board as critical allies in our fight against illegal robocalls,” Yost said. “By adopting these commonsense business practices, service providers will reinforce our ongoing efforts to crack down on this growing nuisance.”

Under the agreement, the service providers will work to prevent illegal robocalls by:

-- implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers.

-- providing customers with free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools.

-- implementing technology to verify that calls are coming from a valid source.

-- monitoring their networks for robocall traffic.

Additionally, the companies will assist attorneys general with anti-robocall enforcement by:

-- knowing who their customers are so bad actors can be identified and investigated.

-- investigating and taking action against suspicious callers, which includes notifying law enforcement and state attorneys general.

-- working with law enforcement, including attorneys general, to trace the origins of illegal robocalls.

-- frequiring phone companies with which they contract to cooperate and trace back identification.

The phone service providers that joined the initiative are AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon and Windstream.

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