Hoeven-Cosponsored Legislation to Deter Illegal Robocalls Passed by Senate

Bipartisan Bill Increases FCC Penalties, Promotes Call Authentication Technology

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement after the Senate passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, bipartisan legislation he cosponsored to help deter illegal and unsolicited robocalls. The legislation aligns with a resolution passed by the North Dakota legislature calling for a solution to the unwanted calls, as well as recent actions from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to stop illegal calls, including a proposal encouraging telecommunications companies to block unwanted calls by default.

“Scams that rely on robocalls and unauthenticated phone numbers are a persistent nuisance,” said Hoeven. “Our legislation will help deter illegal calls and protect our nation’s citizens against fraud by increasing penalties for those who violate the law and promoting technology to verify that calls are legitimate. Now that we have passed this bill through the Senate, we encourage our colleagues in the House to act on this issue as soon as possible.”

While most businesses that use prerecorded messages and automated dialing systems are legitimate, many robocalls are scams and are intended to defraud the recipient. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 4.5 million complaints regarding robocalls in 2017.

In order to help combat this issue, the TRACED Act would:

  • Increase the FCC’s maximum penalty for those who intentionally violate telemarketing restrictions to $10,000 per call, up from $1,500.
  • Extend the window for the FCC to take civil action against offenders.
  • Promote call authentication technology to allow telephone carriers to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before reaching consumers’ phones.
  • Direct the FCC to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or texts from callers using unauthenticated numbers.
  • Bring together federal, state and local authorities to identify and report to Congress on improving deterrence and criminal prosecution of robocall scams.