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Effort underway to outlaw those telemarketing robo-calls

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Those telemarketing calls you’re getting on your cell phone could be going away soon, in fact they could become illegal. 

The random cell phone calls placed to millions of Americans in the middle of the day are apparently annoying some lawmakers in Washington D.C. too. 

“Enough is enough. People are sick of this,” said U.S. Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana, and Chairman of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. 

That committee oversees the budget for the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission. 

Heads from both commissions were told to get a handle on the proliferation of phone calls cell phone customers are getting. 

“I was very direct with our FCC chairman to try to stop this stuff, and our FTC chairman as well. So as a result the FCC unveiled a new rule that’s going to allow phone companies to block robo-calls without the customer’s permission,” said Kennedy. 

According to the FCC’s website, unwanted cell phone calls generate the most complaints given to the FCC. The federal agency reportedly gets about 200,000 complaints each year. 

In addition to directing those agencies to crack down on robo-calls, Kennedy has authored a bill that promises to break the bank for telemarketers who reportedly make hundreds of thousands of what Kennedy calls Spam – type phone calls. It’s called the Telephone Robo-call Abuse Criminal Enforcement Act. 

“It would allow the FCC to fine these guys up to $10,000 a call,” said Kennedy. 
According to research revealed at the committee meeting since 2017 Americans have seen a 50% increase in robo-calls, 

The calls are unsolicited and the person on the other end tries to sell goods or services to the person who answers. 

Using your area code so that the familiar three numbers appear on your caller ID achieves a couple of goals by the caller, it hides their real number, and it gives the customer a false sense of security It’s called “spoofing”, and the FCC says advancements in technology has made spoofing cheap and easy to do. 

And while cell phone customers might describe the calls as annoying or dishonest Kennedy says they’re going way beyond that, they’re actually illegal. 

“Almost all of them are scams. They’re trying to sell you something you’ll never get. But they’ll get your credit card number,” said Kennedy. 

Senator Kennedy has also authored legislation that would break the bank for the telemarketers, they would be fined $10,000 for each call.

Kennedy asked the FCC to provide him a list of any communications company believed to be cooperating with those placing the robo-calls. 

The FCC suggests that in the meantime you don’t answer calls from unknown numbers, and just let them go to voicemail. And if you do answer a call and the caller claims to be from a legitimate company hang up and call them back using a valid number found on their website or on your latest bill if you do business with them. 

For more tips and information on unwanted calls visit the FCC’s website.

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