U.S. Announces Crackdown on Robocallers
Robocalls have become an increasing annoyance that often plagues people more than once a day. Now, the U.S. government is stepping up to curb companies and individuals who have placed more than 1 billion calls that are often pertaining to unwanted financial services and other scam-like enterprises.
The crackdown now involves nearly 100 cases from 15 states and a handful of local authorities. Five of these cases involve criminal enforcement actions as well, marking a renewed effort to curb the flow of these illegal calls from telemarketers and scammers.
The joint action includes the states of Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. Lawmakers from these states, including those in both chambers of Congress, have banded together to introduce legislation that would expand the government’s power to limit the number of robocalls.
In the House of Representatives, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act is expected to be presented and debated on. The bill would direct the Federal Communications Commission to better identify the ruler pertaining to how robocalls may only be made to consumers with their explicit consent.
The Senate is also expecting to deliberate on a similar bill, called the TRACED Act. This measure would expand the FCC’s power in being able to punish robocallers by increasing maximum fines and extending the statute of limitations from one to three years.
The number of robocalls has increased by 128% from last year alone, and have been the cause of major annoyance and even instances of serious fraud. Though many robocalls are not fraudulent in nature, like the ones placed by universities, banks, and pharmacies, they are effectively changing the way we answer phones.
Stopping the spread of robocalls will require a slew of changes in our behavior, technology, and the power of law enforcement in being able to crack down on the organizations that participate in making them. Already, the telecom industry has received approval from the government to begin using new technology to help screen out unwanted calls and implement better spam filters. Nevertheless, it is difficult to fight back against robocallers, as these scammers have cheap technology and large-scale operations on their side.