Ronnie Wu | Dreamstime.com
More than 48 billion robocalls were made last year and Attorneys General from across the country urged the U.S. Senate last week to help stop them.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery joined 54 other Attorneys General in a letter
urging lawmakers to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. The legislation would curb illegal robocalls and phone spoofing, in which consumers are tricked into answering calls because the incoming number appears to be local.
“The state AGs are on the front lines of enforcing do-not-call laws and helping consumers who are harassed and scammed by unwanted telemarketing calls and robocalls,” reads the letter. “Robocalls and telemarketing calls are currently the number one source of consumer complaints at many of our offices, as well as at both the (Federal Communications Commission) and the (Federal Trade Commission).”
Consumers reported losses of more than $290 million thank to fraudulent telemarketers, according to the letter. Consumers Union reported telemarketing scams have been a $9.5 billion out to the U.S. economy.
Robocalls were expected to rise 33 percent in 2018. The actual number — almost 48 billion calls — was up 36 percent over 2017.
The TRACED Act would allow states, federal regulators, and telecom providers to take steps to combat robocalls. The legislation would require voice service providers to participate in a call authentication framework to help block unwanted calls.