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Consumer Groups Welcome Bipartisan Legislation to Stop Misleading “Spoofed” Robocalls

November 16, 2018

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

Introduced by Senators Thune (R-S.D.) and Markey (D-Mass.), the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act 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, and Consumer Federation of America welcomed the progress in the effort against unwanted robocalls.

“We commend Chairman Thune and Senator Markey for taking on the ever-growing scourge of intrusive robocalls that mislead consumers with spoofed phone numbers,” said Maureen Mahoney, policy analyst for Consumer Reports. ” Spoofed robocalls have become a major intrusion into consumers’ everyday lives, and an all-too-convenient vehicle for scammers. We look forward to working with Senators Thune and Markey to refine this bill and pass a law to strengthen robocall protections available to consumers.”

“This bill will mandate that all telephone providers authenticate all telephone calls,” said Margot Saunders, senior counsel for the National Consumer Law Center.  “It is an important step towards protecting us from calls with fake caller IDs. However, there is still much more to be done to stop all unwanted robocalls.”

“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.”

 
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Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit membership organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For 80 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers.

 

Since 1969, the nonprofit National Consumer Law Center® (NCLC®) has used its expertise in consumer law and energy policy to work for consumer justice and economic security for low-income and other disadvantaged people, including older adults, in the United States. NCLC’s expertise includes policy analysis and advocacy; consumer law and energy publications; litigation; expert witness services, and training and advice for advocates. NCLC works with nonprofit and legal services organizations, private attorneys, policymakers, and federal and state government and courts across the nation to stop exploitative practices, help financially stressed families build and retain wealth, and advance economic fairness. www.nclc.org

 

The Consumer Federation of America is an association of more than 250 nonprofit consumer groups that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy and education.