Those pesky robocalls cause enough of a headache to get Washington involved

US House overwhelmingly approves bill that would crack down on robocalls

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Are you sick and tired of robocalls, you’re not alone.

The United States ranks in the top 10 countries affected by spam calls in 2019, according to a report released by Truecaller Insights. The report showed the No. 1 complaint in the U.S. was robocalls, and those pesky calls caused enough of a headache to get Washington involved.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence, or TRACED, Act, which would crack down on those who spam Americans with automated calls, almost unanimously. The vote was an overwhelming 417-3.

If the TRACED Act is passed, fines would be up to $10,000 per robocall.

With more than 54 billion robocalls placed so far this year -- up from 6 billion last year -- according to call-blocking service YouMail, those fines would quickly add up.

But the TRACED Act would not just impose fines on robocallers. The bill would also:

  • Require phone companies to block robocalls without charging customers any extra money and require most carriers in the U.S. to ensure that calls are coming from real numbers.
  • Require the Federal Communications Commission to deliver reports to Congress about what action they are taking against illegal robocalling operations and oversee a group of companies tasked with investigating where robocalls are coming from in the first place.
  • Push the Department of Justice to take action against illegal robocalls more often.
  • Require telecommunications companies to provide new technologies to protect the integrity of caller ID, which would likely make it harder for robocallers to impersonate real people, businesses or government agencies.

The TRACED Act is expected to be heard in the U.S. Senate either this week or next.

If passed, it will then head to the president’s desk, where it could be signed into law.

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