WASHINGTON – They come at all hours of the day or night and often are in a foreign language.
They are robo calls and New York Sen. Charles Schumer is joining the fight to better control and combat these annoyances.
Schumer is rallying for a new and best chance plan to finally kill robo calls, many of which come in the middle of the night from overseas. Schumer is launching a major, bipartisan push to pass the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. The TRACED Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and John Thune (R-SD) and now cosponsored by Schumer, would give federal agencies the tools and authority they desperately need to trace, prosecute, and enforce fines against robocall scammers, as well as establish new requirements related to call authentication technology that could filter out robocalls before they reach the phones of unsuspecting Western New Yorkers.
“Robocalls – at all hours of the day and night – and ‘spoofing’ scams annoy and rip-off countless residents, and the TRACED Act will finally arm federal agencies with new tools and authority to trace, prosecute, and enforce fines against robocall scammers. It will also set new call authentication requirements designed to filter out robocalls–especially the ones abroad–before they reach the phones of unsuspecting Western New Yorkers,” said Senator Schumer. “Despite the existing ‘Do Not Call’ registry, robocalls remain a serious problem across the country, making these harassing calls nearly unavoidable. It’s a plague that we’ve got to cure—whether it’s the landline or cell phone, no one should be woken up in the dead of night by multiple robocalls. Fortunately, the TRACED Act is just the antidote we need, which is why I will be urging Congress to pass this landmark legislation ASAP to give the feds new powers to track, prosecute and fine these nasty robocall scammers and bolster caller identification technology across the nation.”
Schumer says, despite federal ‘Do Not Call’ rules, robocalls and unwanted spam calls are getting worse by the day. He said Buffalo residents, alone received 51.99 million reported robo calls in April. Schumer explained the legislation and the bipartisan plan to get this on the floor of the Senate ASAP in an all-out push to kill the calls that just won’t stop.
Americans received 4.9 billion robocalls this March – a new record total for the number of calls made in one month. Earlier this year, YouMail reported that 47.7 billion robocalls were made in the U.S. in 2018, a 57 percent increase over the number of calls made the year prior. Additional data shows that in April of this year, New Yorkers received 290.3 million robocalls, which averaged over 112 calls per second and 11 calls per New Yorker.
Schumer said the federal government must do everything possible to make sure robocalls stop increasing year after year. Despite federal ‘Do Not Call’ rules, scammers have developed more creative ways to go around the system, meaning, hundreds of thousands of individuals continue to receive unwanted spam calls. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), unwanted and illegal robocalls are the FTC’s number-one complaint category, with more than 3.7 million complaints filed in 2018.
To hang up on these deceitful robocalls, Schumer will be calling on his colleagues in Congress to expediently vote on and pass the TRACED Act. The TRACED Act would work to combat robocalls by:
Giving the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the ability to fine robocall scheme perpetrators $10,000 per call made,
Increase the timeframe under which the FCC could find and prosecute robocall schemes from one to three years after a call is placed,
Require the Department of Justice (DOJ), FCC, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Commerce (DOC), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other agencies and state officials to issue recommendations to Congress on how to further bolster methods to combat robocalls,
And require telecommunications companies to implement effective call authentication technology, which could help stop robocalls before they reach the phones of unsuspecting victims.
The National “Do-Not-Call” Registry, managed by the FTC, was implemented in 2003 after the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003. The registry is designed to give people a choice about whether they would like to receive telemarketing calls at home. It was created to limit the number of telemarketing calls and robocalls made to U.S. households. In order to register, one may log onto the “Do-Not-Call” website and their phone number will be permanently placed in the registry.
Schumer has long supported efforts to crack down on robocalls. For instance, Schumer has supported federal legislation that would drastically increase punishments for telemarketing companies that continue to make robocalls, as well as pushed for legislation to require landline and mobile carriers to offer free robocall-blocking technology to all consumers.