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U.S. Senate passes bill to fight robocalls

Photo by News Mississippi

A bill aiming to crack down on robocalls is one step closer to becoming law. 

With the support of Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, the TRACED Act has passed through the U.S. Senate. 

According to the Senators, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to work with telephone service providers to establish a process for authenticating calls to identify and stop unwanted calls before they reach the consumer. It also increases criminal fines for intentional violations of the Telephone Consumer Privacy Act.

The bipartisan measure also authorizes a working group under the U.S. Attorney General to recommend additional legislation, regulation, and policy changes to further deter criminal robocalls and punish violators.

“The TRACED Act will help us fight the persistent threat posed to American consumers by illegal robocall operations.  It also sets the stage for federal officials to recommend new tactics and fines to stop these unwanted callers, whose main focus is to scam and cheat people,” Hyde-Smith said.

“Robocalls have plagued Americans for years. People no longer answer their phones if they do not recognize the number and, as a result, are missing important calls. This is all because scammers have hijacked our networks.” Wicker said. “The TRACED Act goes after these abusive and illegal robocallers and gives consumers, regulators, and law enforcement the tools to fight those taking advantage of the system. I am pleased to see so many of my colleagues from all corners of the nation coming together to partner with Senators Thune and Markey to pass this critical legislation. I urge the House to take up and vote for the TRACED Act and then send it to the President’s desk so we can stop the scourge of robocalls.”

The Senate bill has been endorsed by all 50 state attorneys general, AARP, Verizon, AT&T, USTelecom, Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, NCTA, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, Consumer Groups, Electronic Transactions Association, and every member of the FCC and Federal Trade Commission.

Mississippi AG Jim Hood voiced his support for the bill back in March.   

“This legislation has broad bipartisan support because it’s something that is affecting everyone,” Hood said. 

In 2018, robocalls increased by more than 36%

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