Senate Bill to Stop Robocalls and Up Penalties to $10K
November 17, 2018
Senators introduced a bill on November 16, 2018, aimed to stop the seemingly neverending string of robocalls to many Americans. The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act would force telecom companies, such as Verizon and AT&T, to filter out illegitimate calls before they even reach your phone, reports Gizmodo. The TRACED Act would require telecoms to implement a call authentication system that would block robocalls from spoofed or unregistered numbers from reaching your phone. The Act puts part of the onus on the cell phone and landline service providers to fix the problem.
The TRACED Act also increases the penalty for robocalls up to $10,000 per call. The current penalty — under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act or “TCPA” — is up to $1,500 per call. Senator Thune, a bill sponsor, said that the current “enforcement regime is totally inadequate for scam artists and we need do more to separate enforcement of carelessness and other mistakes [by legitimate telemarketers] from more sinister actors.”
YouMail, which offers a spam-call blocker, estimates that 5.1 billion robocalls were made to U.S. phones in the last month alone.
The TRACED Act would also push federal agencies to work together to stop spam calls. The Act asks the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report to Congress on enforcement efforts and progress on stopping harassing phone calls and prosecuting fraudsters and scam telemarketers, according to Gizmodo.
Senator Markey, another bill sponsor, said of the TRACED Act:
“As the scourge of spoofed calls and robocalls reaches epidemic levels, the bipartisan TRACED Act will provide every person with a phone much-needed relief… It’s a simple formula: call authentication, blocking, and enforcement, and this bill achieves all three.”
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