New federal legislation aims to put an end to illegal robocalls

Are robocalls annoying? If you think so, you’ll want to get behind new federal legislation that would raise the $1,500-per-call penalty for illegal robocalls to $10,000, and give the Federal Communications Commission three years after a call instead of one year to take action.

The would-be Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act was introduced in Congress on Nov. 15 by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Ed Markey, D-Mass. It’s been assigned to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which Thune chairs and on which Markey serves.

The company YouMail estimates 5.1 billion robocalls were received in October. That’s more than twice January’s total.

Illegal calls, spoofed robocalls (those that appear to come from a local area code or telephone exchange although they originate elsewhere) and other sorts of unwanted phone intrusions are the FCC’s top consumer complaint. The agency provides advice on how to handle handle these calls, as well as those from legitimate telemarketers.

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