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

For Immediate Release: 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).

The National Consumer Law Center, Consumer Reports, and Consumer Federation of America applaud the Senators and welcome the progress in the effort against unwanted robocalls.

"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."

"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."

“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.”