Are you tired of robocalls? So is the federal government.
With a stroke of his pen, President Donald Trump signed a new law to cut down on the number of calls you get. It won’t happen overnight but it’s a big victory for all of us as consumers who have been bombarded with unwanted robocalls over the years.
The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act requires telephone companies to use call authentication technology.
It will identity robocalls so you don’t have to answer them, at no extra charge to consumers.
Under the new law, the penalty for making a robocall to a cellphone is $10,000 per call. President Donald Trump signed the bipartisan legislation into law just before the new year.
“This historic legislation will provide American consumers with even greater protection against annoying unsolicited robocalls,” the White House press secretary said in a statement. “American families deserve control over their communications, and this legislation will update our laws and regulations to stiffen penalties, increase transparency, and enhance government collaboration to stop unwanted solicitation.”
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said unwanted calls are “far and away the biggest consumer complaint to the FCC with over 200,000 complaints each year.” In fact, the FCC said that some reports claim U.S. consumers received nearly 4 billion robocalls per month in 2018.
The problem is scammers use technology that allows them to make mass phone calls at the same time. They are also able to “spoof” their phone number to make it look like they are calling from anywhere. It’s already illegal to fake phone numbers to defraud someone but it can be hard to prosecute because a lot of times the scams originate overseas.
This new law builds on what the FCC had already been working on. Last summer, federal regulators gave phone companies the right to block unwanted calls, without getting your permission first. Now phone companies will be required to install this new technology and take more stops to block robocalls.
In the meantime, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself from falling victim to a scam. It has been proven that the longer you talk to scammers, the more likely you are to lose money. Just by answering the phone, the crooks know that you have a working phone number and they will continue to call you and pester you.
You can also sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry for free.