Federal lawmakers fighting to end ‘menace’ robocalls

Federal lawmakers met Tuesday to tackle the growing issue of robocalls with the proposed “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act.”

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The issue itself seems to be growing rapidly, but many are concerned there is not enough enforcement.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., a cosponsor of the bill, told FOX Business it is time to put an end to the fraud and disruption caused by robocalls and thinks the bill will play a significant part in reducing these calls.

“This is a menace all the way around and we are going after it,” Walden said on “Varney & Co.” Tuesday. “With the partnership with the phone providers, they’ve got the technology and we’re giving them the authority. We’re going to shut this down.”

There were an estimated 47.8 billion robocalls last year, according to Walden. The calls often contain scams aimed to steal personal financial and security information. They also tend to target senior citizens.

FOX Business’ Jeff Flock talked to Jeri Wilds, who was a victim of the robocalls.

Wilds told Flock it was “weeks of repeated phone calls, threatening mail, threatening voicemails.” She went months with people threatening her, asking for money and even “threatening legal action.”

She said it was “about two months altogether before it stopped.”

In a joint agency effort, the Federal Trade Commission is also joining the battle against robocalls. The FTC announced on Tuesday its new campaign, “Operation Call it Quits,” in Chicago.

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The FTC has brought 141 lawsuits against more than 600 companies and individuals responsible for illegal calls. The commission also says it receives more complaints from consumers about illegal robocalls than anything else every year.

Here are the steps the “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act” will take:

  • Lawmakers will work with phone carriers, giving them the authority and technology to stop robocalls from reaching consumers
  • Carriers will have the authority to use authentication equipment to block the calls
  • Consumers will also have the ability to block calls, which they can opt out of at any time. They will be able to block more kinds of calls than they could before
  • All calls must have caller ID information before being put through the statute of limitations and receiving punishment
  • Phone carriers must provide Congress with updates