June 14, 2019

Cortez Masto, Schumer, Klobuchar and Hassan Introduce Legislation to Deter Illegal Robocalls

Cortez Masto, Schumer, Klobuchar and Hassan Introduce Legislation to Deter Illegal Robocalls

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today introduced the Deter Obnoxious, Nefarious, and Outrageous Telephone (DO NOT) Call Act of 2019 with Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). This legislation will improve enforcement and enhance penalties for violations made under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Though the current statute outlaws initiating a robocall without the consent of an individual, these calls continue to surge. In 2017 alone, over 30.5 billion robocalls were initiated. These calls are generally illegal and are frequently used to defraud and scam elderly Americans. In 2015, Americans lost $7.4 billion to telephone scams.

“Not only are robocalls a nuisance to Nevadans, they’re often used to target the most vulnerable in America and defraud seniors of their hard earned savings,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “It’s time for Congress to act and put stronger penalties on those who would initiate illegal robocall scams that defraud Americans of their money.”

“Every single day, Americans across the country and throughout New York are inundated by deceitful, unwanted robocalls,” said Senator Schumer. “These calls defraud Americans of billions of dollars each year, and often target the elderly and the vulnerable. This critical legislation will give law enforcement the resources they need to stop robocall predators and hold them accountable for their abuse.”

“Most robocalls aren’t just unwanted and disruptive – they are illegal, and often target seniors and vulnerable Americans,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Our legislation will give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on scammers and deter criminals from abusing robocalls.”

“Far too many people in New Hampshire and across the country are bombarded by robocalls that not only invade privacy and cause a nuisance, but also target the financial well-being of some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Senator Hassan. “By improving law enforcement and enhancing penalties for those making illegal robocalls, this commonsense legislation will help protect people from such predatory calls.”

“I applaud Sen. Cortez-Masto for taking this important step to curb illegal robocalls,” said Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford. “Many Nevada families have been harassed, annoyed or even scammed by illegal robocalls. The DO NOT Call Act is a critical tool for law enforcement to stop robocall abuse.”

This bill is endorsed by Consumer Action.

Full text of the bill is available here.

BACKGROUND:

The DO NOT Call Act creates a penalty specific to violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that could include up to one year in prison for any willful and knowing violation. The legislation would also increase the maximum penalty for civil and criminal fines from $10,000 to $20,000 for falsifying Caller ID.

Additionally, the DO NOT Call Act would further penalize those who commit an “aggravated” version of the offense, which would subject individuals to a maximum 3 year prison sentence. These aggravated offenses included:

  1. A previous conviction under the section.
  2. An offense involving more than 100,000 violations in a day, 1,000,000 in a month, or 10,000,000 in a year;
  3. The offense was committed in furtherance of a felony;
  4. The offense caused loss to 1 or more persons aggregating $5,000 in a year.

 

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