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Dishonest practice must come to an end

How many times after your phone has rung have you looked at the caller ID, seen it was an in-state number, and answered — only to have a recorded voice offer you help in paying off your student loans?

Welcome to ‘robocalls,” those annoying automated communications that at times seem to outnumber the legitimate phone calls we receive.

Good for attorney generals in all 50 states for being part of a national campaign to crack down on robocalls. They and District of Columbia officials have worked with 12 major phone companies to devise steps that may alleviate the problem.

Will it end robocalling? No. As one official told us, the bad guys always come up with ways to get around both government and private-sector attempts to curb them.

But it’s a start, and it should be followed up by a vigorous, nationwide campaign of prosecuting those who “spoof” legitimate phone numbers to make us think we’re receiving something other than a robocall. That’s fraud, after all, and there are laws against that.

Stiff fines, perhaps even a prison sentence or two, would do a world of good to end those who employ dishonesty in their robocalling practices.