Telephone

Consumer Groups Urge Action on Bipartisan Legislation to Stop Misleading “Spoofed” Robocalls

Washington, DC — A bipartisan bill reintroduced today in the Senate will address the growing problem of “spoofed” robocalls that use fraudulent caller identification information to disguise the caller’s true identity.

Led by Senators Thune (R-S.D.) and Markey (D-Mass.), the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act (S. 151) would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to develop rules requiring providers of telephone voice services to implement an effective framework for authenticating calls to better enable them to identify and stop unwanted calls before they reach the consumer. It would also increase potential civil forfeitures and criminal fines for intentional violations of the Telephone Consumer Privacy Act (TCPA).

Consumer Reports, the National Consumer Law Center, Consumer Federation of America, and Consumer Action welcomed the progress in the effort against unwanted robocalls.

“Unwanted robocalls harass Americans every day, too often with scams that take advantage of consumers, and yet phone companies drag their feet and fail to truly solve the problem,” said Maureen Mahoney, policy analyst for Consumer Reports. “The TRACED Act takes an important step in ensuring that all phone companies implement technology that will help stop “spoofed” calls, a technique employed by scammers to foil robocall mitigation efforts. Consumer Reports supports this bipartisan effort to address the robocall problem.”

“Once passed, this bill will help tens of millions of Americans reclaim the use of their telephones from the scourge of unwanted and fraudulent robocalls,” said Margot Saunders, senior policy counsel for the National Consumer Law Center. “On behalf of our low-income clients, we strongly support this bill and very much appreciate the efforts of Chairman Thune and Senator Markey to address the serious problem of caller-id spoofing.”

“Authenticating that a call is coming from the source that it purports to be is crucial in the fight against illegal robocalls, which often fraudulently spoof their caller ID,” said Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection and Privacy at the Consumer Federation of America. “This bill will move carriers forward to implement call authentication and provide stronger enforcement tools to use against robocallers who flout the law.”

“Spoofed robocalls are the reason that consumers are unwilling to answer their phones these days,” said Consumer Action’s Deputy Director of National Priorities Ruth Susswein. “The TRACED Act is the kind of legislation that consumers have been waiting for – with tools to curb invasive robocalls, hold abusers accountable and help consumers block bad actors from their phone lines.”

Contacts:
Kara Kelber, Consumer Reports, 202-462-6262
Jan Kruse, NCLC, 617-542-8010
Susan Grant, CFA
Ruth Susswein, Consumer Action, 301-718-2511