Congressman Anthony Brindisi led House Democrats and Republicans to pass legislation to crack down on unwanted robocalls. Following an outcry from constituents and reports of fraud and abuse, Brindisi introduced legislation to fight back against robocallers. Key provisions from Brindisi’s bills passed the House as part of a bicameral and bipartisan compromise solution.
“Robocalls are unwanted, intrusive, and fraudulent and now we can fight back,” Brindisi said. “Hardworking people are fed up with unwanted robocalls. This bill will crack down on wrongdoers and give law enforcement the tools they need to prosecute these criminals. Standing up for consumers and getting things done to improve the lives of every day New Yorkers is why I went to Congress.”
In 2018, Americans were hit with 26.3 billion robocalls, a 46 percent increase from the previous year. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) receives more than 200,000 complaints of robocalls each year – and as a result, has made stopping the scourge of illegal robocalls and caller ID spoofing schemes one of its top priorities.
Brindisi, a leader in the fight against robocallers, co-sponsored the bipartisan Spam Calls Task Force Act, the Locking Up Robocallers Act, and the House version of the TRACED Act. Portions of these bills were included in the historic reform that passed the House.
The House-passed TRACED Act would:
- Extend the statute of limitations for law enforcement agencies to prosecute illegal robocallers from two years to four years.
- Direct the FCC to submit evidence of criminal robocall violations to the Attorney General for criminal prosecution.
- Prohibit phone companies from charging consumers for services that block robocalls by default.
- Require phone companies to implement new technology to stop robocallers from “spoofing” phone numbers, where the number listed on a caller ID is fraudulent.
“Working to end robocalls and preventing the fraud that comes with them will improve lives for families across Upstate New York,” Brindisi added. “Robocalls often target the elderly and our Veterans and we need to do what we can to protect them. This bill is a big step to stopping the scourge of robocalls across this country.”
The legislation passed the House 417-3.