No less than three senators have proposed new legislation that aims at deterring scamming robocalls.
The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Protection (TRACED) Act grants a more encompassing authority to punish entities that violate telemarketing restrictions, allow the commission a longer window to act in and develop an interagency working group that would continue to search for actions that might deter potential future robocall scams.
“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,” Senator Ed Markey, a cosponsor of the proposed legislation, stated. “It’s a simple formula: call authentication, blocking and enforcement, and this bill achieves all three.”
The legislation would extend the statute of limitations on penalties for robocall violations to three years instead of two. It would also order the FCC to propose new rules geared toward protecting individuals from receiving contact from unauthenticated numbers. What’s more is an interagency group -made up of both federal agencies and state entities such as the Departments of Justice, Commerce, State and Homeland Security, the FCC, the FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state attorneys general – would be required to provide Congress with recommendations for both prevention and prosecution of robocall violations as well as suggestions on how to implement those recommendations.
The TRACED Act even require the FCC to ensure voice service providers use call authentication to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before reaching consumers.
“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,” said Senator John Thune (R-SD), who introduced the bill. “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.” said Senator Roger Wicker who cosponsored the bill.
“Combating illegal robocalls is our top consumer priority at the FCC,” Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement earlier this month. “That’s why we need call authentication to become a reality — it’s the best way to ensure that consumers can answer their phones with confidence. By this time next year, I expect that consumers will begin to see this on their phones.”