President Donald Trump recently signed into law a bipartisan bill, the TRACED Act, to combat illegal robocalls.
The collaborative legislative package was authored by members of the Senate and the House, including Fifth District Congressman Bob Latta, Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Greg Walden, Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle.
“Our phones that connect us to the world should be used for good, not for manipulative and illegal spam calls that have tricked countless people out of time and money,” Latta said. “The TRACED Act takes significant steps to protect consumers from scams and fraud.”
Last year alone, there were almost 48 billion robocalls made to people across the country, compared to just over 30 billion robocalls made the year before in 2017. In 2016, 22 million Americans, including senior citizens, who are some of the nation’s most vulnerable residents, lost $9.6 billion in robocall scams.
With the TRACED Act signed into law, phone companies will be required to verify and authenticate incoming calls so consumers can identify which calls are legitimate.
According to the FCC, they receive over 200,000 complaints a year from residents receiving predatory robocalls. Latta introduced the STOP Robocalls Act and shortly thereafter, the FCC voted to allow phone companies to block illegal robocalls.
The STOP Robocalls Act ensures consumers can identify which calls are being blocked – similar to the spam filter in email – and create a pathway to stop wanted calls from being blocked. It also improves information sharing to enhance the FCC’s ability to track and stop illegal robocall and spoofing operations.
Congressman Latta is the Republican leader on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.