Senators push bipartisan bill to crack down on robocalls

Senators push bipartisan bill to crack down on robocalls
© Getty Images

Two senators are pushing a new bipartisan bill to crack down on illegal robocall scams, raising the maximum civil fine for violators to $10,000 per call.

Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneHillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber The Year Ahead: Push for privacy bill gains new momentum On The Money: Trump, Dems battle over border wall before cameras | Clash ups odds of shutdown | Senators stunned by Trump's shutdown threat | Pelosi calls wall 'a manhood thing' for Trump MORE (R-S.D.), the current chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension Massachusetts is leading the way on gun safety, but we can’t do it alone Lobbying World MORE (D-Mass.) on Friday unveiled their Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act.

ADVERTISEMENT
“The TRACED Act targets robocall scams and other intentional violations of telemarketing laws so that when authorities do catch violators, they can be held accountable,” Thune said in a statement.

Existing civil penalty rules were designed to impose penalties on lawful telemarketers who make mistakes. This enforcement regime is totally inadequate for scam artists and we need do more to separate enforcement of carelessness and other mistakes from more sinister actors,” he added.

The new bill would also give the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) more time to take enforcement actions against such scammers, lengthening the statute of limitation from one to three years.

The bill would require the telecom industry to implement safeguards against a practice known as “spoofing,” in which scammers mask the origin of their calls and make it look like they are coming from a number with the same area code as the recipient.

The technologies that the bill directs the industry to adopt would allow carriers to verify if the numbers are legitimate for an incoming call.

“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,” Markey said in a statement. “It’s a simple formula: call authentication, blocking, and enforcement, and this bill achieves all three.”