Robocalls are the new plague of the digital and cell phone era.
According to some estimates, Americans received 48 billion robocalls last year, up from 30 billion in 2017. It used to be that only a person’s land line would be subject to telemarketers, but these days our wireless phones also are being deluged on a daily basis with these annoying phone calls from robocall centers that typically operate from overseas.
The latest nuance in the robocalling game is spoofing, whereby a robocall essentially hijacks a local phone number, tricking the receiver of the phone call into thinking that the call is coming from someone in one’s hometown.
No one is immune from the scourge of pre-recorded robocalls trying to scam us out of our money. And the calls seem to never stop coming. The deluge of these robocalls have become the number one complaint of Americans who have a phone line — which is to say, just about all of us.
Robocalls have become an epidemic that must be stopped and to that end, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey has introduced a bill, known as the TRACED Act, that will give authorities and the telecom companies the ability to find, catch, and prosecute scammers.
The TRACED Act gives the FCC the authority to levy civil penalties against scammers, extends the window from one to three years to take action against intentional violators, and requires telephone providers to adopt call authentication technologies to verify that incoming calls are legitimate.
This bill already has overwhelming bipartisan support — one of the few things that Republicans and Democrats can agree upon these days — and recently passed a Senate committee by a 26-0 margin.
Each of us can show our solidarity behind ending the scourge of robocalls by calling Sen. Markey’s office to become a citizen co-sponsor of the TRACED Act. Let our elected officials know that the sooner Congress takes action, the better.