The attorneys general of all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam have offered their support to pending legislation, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (“TRACED”) Act, aimed at significantly reducing robocalls. The support was in the form of a letter sent by the AGs on March 5 to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation.
In their letter, the AGs assert that the legislation takes “meaningful steps to abate the rapid proliferation of these illegal and unwanted robocalls.” The AGs explain that their support for the bill is based on the fact that robocalls and telemarketing calls are currently the number one source of consumer complaints at many of their offices, as well as at both the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission. Further, the letter points out that the total number of robocall complaints has risen by over one million in each of 2016 and 2017.
The state AGs also applaud the TRACED Act’s requirement that voice service providers participate in the call authentication framework and offer their support of its timely enactment. The letter explains that because the hardware and software required to make robocalls is easy to obtain, is relatively inexpensive, enables “mass-dialing of thousands of calls for pennies,” and allows telemarketers to fake or “spoof” Caller ID information, virtually anyone can send millions of illegal robocalls and frustrate law enforcement with just a computer, inexpensive software (such as an auto-dialer and spoofing programs), and an internet connection. The TRACED Act gives voice service providers between 12 and 18 months from its enactment to establish and implement a call authentication framework. The AGs support this short implementation timeframe, as they believe it will greatly reduce the number of unwanted robocalls calls to consumers.
The state AGs conclude by offering their support of the Interagency Working Group established by the legislation, and encourage the Working Group to consult and coordinate with them given their years of experience bringing enforcement actions against illegal telemarketers and robocallers.