Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III urged the U.S. Senate this week to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, legislation to curb illegal robocalls and spoofing, according to a press release.
A coalition of 54 attorneys general sent a letter to the U. S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation supporting the TRACED Act.
Republican U.S. Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Democratic U.S. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, are sponsoring the legislation.
“In their letter, the attorneys general state that the TRACED Act enables states, federal regulators, and telecom providers to take steps to combat these illegal calls,” according to the press release Slatery’s office sent out this week.
“The legislation will require voice service providers to participate in a call authentication framework to help block unwanted calls and creates an interagency working group to take additional actions to reduce robocalls and hold telemarketers and robocallers accountable.”
More than 48 billion robocalls were made in 2018, making them the number one source of consumer complaints to the FTC and the FCC and resulting in millions in consumer losses, according to the press release.
The state attorneys general work to enforce do-not-call laws and protect consumers in their states from being harassed and scammed by robocalls.
“Robocalls and telemarketing calls are currently the number one source of consumer complaints at many of our offices, as well as at both the FCC and the FTC. The total number of complaints rose by over one million complaints in each of 2016 and 2017,” according to a letter Slatery and other state attorneys general wrote to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation.
“In 2017, consumers reported losses in excess of $290 million as a result of frauds perpetrated by telemarketers, and Consumers Union reported that telemarketing scams have been a $9.5 billion cost to the U.S. economy.”
At the beginning of 2018, the letter went on to say, the industry expected a 33 percent increase in the number of robocalls.