Reports Question Efficacy of Bills Aimed at Stopping Robocalls

A pair of published reports are questioning the efficacy of two separate pieces of proposed legislation, one at the state level and one in Congress, at eliminating robocalls, arguing that those perpetrating the offenses are either too far away or too skilled at evading prosecution.

The first article looks at the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, a bill proposed in the Senate that stiffen penalties for those caught making robocalls and give the Federal Communications Commission more time to investigate complaints.

Scammers can use websites and a pre-paid credit card to make millions of robocalls, making them nearly impossible to track down, according to the report.

“Giving the FCC more enforcement power is not going to help because the people making these calls are covering their tracks quite well and probably aren’t going to pay the fines anyway,” Charles H. Kennedy, partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP and senior adjunct fellow at technology think tank TechFreedom, told Bloomberg Law.

There is a decent chance the TRACED Act will become law, but even if it does, do not expect it to have much of a deterring effect on the amount of robocalls, according to the report.

Separately, a bill that is on the desk of Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, would make it a Class 3 misdemeanor to use false information on a caller ID. But even if the bill becomes law, “prosecutors are unlikely to be able to track down the culprits since they hide behind the numbers of ordinary citizens.”

One assistant university professor says the telecom companies need to step up and be the police to keep robocalls from proliferating, by verifying the caller IDs of individuals and companies making calls.

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