On behalf of American Senior Alliance, we are grateful to our members of Congress for putting politics aside to help protect our older Americans from fraud by the passage of the TRACED Act. American Senior Alliance spends the majority of the time working in state capitols fighting for seniors and protecting their hard earned dollars.
Social Security, Medicare and retirement are vital issues, but so is striving to protect our elders from fraud and scams. It just so happens, robocalls made it easy for the fraudsters to use their deceptive tactics to prey on older Americans. Thankfully, our voice was heard and Congress stepped up and put an end to illegal robocalls by passing the TRACED Act.
Over the past several years, we worked diligently to put an end to robocalls, and the setbacks seemed to make us more resilient. Once again, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work in support of the TRACED Act. We heard from many of you after our May 16, 2019 anti robocall blog post. We knew all along about the affects that robo calls had on our seniors, but we learned robocalls targeted people of all ages, not just our older Americans. What truly re-energized our team was the Washington Post study that revealed 26.3 billion robocalls were placed in 2018 and many of those calls were aimed at older Americans. Think about that number for a minute; it is quite alarming knowing how many robocalls are being activated and how many senior citizens could be victims of deceptive calls.
After many years in the making, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate members said enough is enough. They heard our voices and many others loud and clear. Senator John Thune and Senator John Markey and Representative Pallone teamed up to lead the efforts to pass the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act) S.151 and on December 30, 2019, it was signed by President Trump.
We were not sure if the bill would pass, but when First Orion, a company specializing in caller ID and call blocking technology, indicated half of the robocalls being directed through mobile phone devices in 2019 would be fraudulent, we knew passage had to happen quickly. We don't believe all robocalls have bad intentions, but there have been plenty citizens who have been duped out of millions of dollars making it easy for most Americans to be concerned.
According to Senator Thune, “Every day, vulnerable Americans fall prey to ever-more-sophisticated scammers and have money or their identity stolen. Individuals who fall prey to scammers can spend months or years struggling to get their life back.” The TRACED Act will not completely solve all of our problems with robocalls, but Senator Thune said, “The TRACED Act provides the tools to discourage illegal robocalls, protect consumers, and crack down on offenders.”
Now that the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act was signed into law, American Senior Alliance is very pleased the TRACED Act calls for the Federal Communications Commission, Department of Justice, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and our state attorney generals to convene to identify ways to criminally prosecute illegal robocalls. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission will form a working group to address robocalls being made to hospitals that potentially disrupt hospital communication lines for hours.
We are thrilled that our older Americans will now be safer from the scam artists who target our senior citizens. We are forever grateful for our members of Congress for joining forces in a bipartisan manner to fight for our vulnerable population. We look forward to continuing to join forces to assist our state and federal officials to protect our seniors from fraud and deception.