Bye-Bye, Robocalls? Law Would Tell Phone Carriers to ID Scam Calls

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Federal legislation that aims to crack down on robocalls is now waiting to be signed into law.

The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act reached President Donald Trump’s desk on Friday after the U.S. House and Senate agreed on a final version of the bill.

“TRACED” is an acronym for “Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence.”

If signed into law, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act would require phone companies to adopt authentication technology that enables them to determine whether incoming calls are legitimate before they reach customers’ phones.

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who introduced an earlier version of the bill with Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, explained in a recent statement:

“The TRACED Act cracks down on scammers by requiring phone carriers to authenticate whether calls are legitimate, and then blocking unverified robocalls at no charge to consumers. … I hope the President quickly signs this bill into law so that families can enjoy a new year of family calls instead of robocalls.”

According to an announcement from Thune’s office, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act also better equips certain federal agencies to help combat robocalls. For example, the bill:

  • “Broadens the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call on people who intentionally flout telemarketing restrictions.
  • Extends the window for the FCC to catch and take civil enforcement action against intentional violations to four years after a robocall is placed. Under current law, the FCC has only one year to do so, and the FCC has told the committee that ‘even a one-year longer statute of limitations for enforcement’ would improve enforcement against violators.”

The bill also tasks the FCC with kick-starting a process for protecting consumers from unwanted text messages and “one-ring” scams, which we reported on in “Why Answering the Phone at Night Could Cost You Cash.”

An estimated 54 billion robocalls were placed during the first 11 months of 2019 in the U.S., according to the YouMail Robocall Index.

To learn more about how you can protect yourself from robocalls, check out Money Talks News’ latest stories on these unwanted calls.

What’s your take on the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act? Sound off by commenting below or on the Money Talks News Facebook page.

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