Tired of all those strange robocalls? Two U.S. Senators are, too. Illinois Democrat Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin urged the FCC on Wednesday to step up enforcement of curbing the number of spam and robocalls received by people. In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the four FCC Commissioners, Durbin and Duckworth urged the agency to enhance traceback efforts to bring those who use phone scams to steal money and time away from people by enforcing the National Do-Not-Call-List among other tools at the FCC’s disposal.
Robocallers placed 172 million calls to Illinois residents in the month of August, said Durbin and Duckworth in a press release. In April, Duckworth and Durbin along with six other Senate Democrats introduced the Protecting American Consumers from Robocalls Act, a bill that would help end the plague of illegal robocalls in America. The bill would give landline and cellular consumers alike the ability to petition for statutory damages for all unconsented-to telemarketing calls immediately after the first violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
In May, the Senate passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, known as the TRACED Act. The legislation, cosponsored by Durbin and Duckworth, would address the scourge of robocalls by increasing fines on violators of the TCPA and directing phone service providers to implement call authentication technology, which can reasonably predict whether an inbound call is from a spoofed number.
Despite repeated legislative efforts, regulatory enforcement actions, and the proliferation of call-blocking mobile applications, the problem of robocalls continues to plague everyday Americans at high rates. In 2016, the FCC reported that Americans lost a total of 9.5 billion dollars to phone-related scams.