If you own a cell phone or a home phone, chances are pretty good that you have been a victim of robocalls. Many of these scam artists use deceptive tactics to try to manipulate older Americans into forking over their hard earned dollars or buying a product they don't need. These guys are good and are very persuasive to get exactly what they want.
According to a recent study in the Washington Post, roughly 26.3 billion robocalls were placed into U.S. phone numbers in 2018 up from 18 billion in 2017. Even more alarming, First Orion, a company specializing in caller ID and call blocking technology indicated that over half of the calls to mobile phones would be fraudulent in 2019. Congress must address this problem, so older Americans can live in peace!
We have supported bills in state legislature's, but we need our federal officials to step up.
Thankfully, Congress appears to be listening too and have reintroduced an excellent bill to address the challenges that consumers experience.
Two powerful United States Senator's, John Thune, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet and Ed Markey, also a member of the Commerce Committee and Ed Markey, member of the Commerce Committee and author of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, reintroduced the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED Act) S.151 again.
The TRACED Act brings together our federal officials and state attorney general's to address impediments standing in the way of criminal prosecution. Additionally, it gives regulators more time to crack down on scammers and increases penalties.
The bipartisan TRACED Act does more to protect consumers and our vulnerable population. It provides a simple formula to protect our older Americans from spoofed calls and robocalls. The legislation should provide relief through call authentication, call blocking and enforcement giving everyone with a phone much needed assistance. The legislation has the support of all 50 state attorney generals, FCC, FTC Commissioners, industry associations and consumer groups. In addition to having a robust coalition of support, we must all do our job and encourage Congress to support the measure.
In the meantime, until the TRACED Act or other bills pass to offer relief, the FCC offers these tips on how to stop robocalls and avoid phone scams.
- Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer by accident, hang up immediately.
- If you answer and the caller asks you to hit a button to prevent future robocalls, hang up.
- You may not know the call is spoofed immediately. Just because caller ID shows a local number does not mean it is a local number.
- Never give out personal information, social security numbers, maiden names or passwords.
- Use caution when approached by anyone using pressure to get information.
- Ask your phone company about call blocking technology and inquire about downloading it to your mobile device.
- To block telemarketing calls, register your number on the Do Not Call List. Legitimate telemarketers consult the list to avoid calling both landline and wireless phone numbers on the list.