Hoeven Cosponsors Legislation to Deter Illegal and Unsolicited Robocalls

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) today announced that he has cosponsored the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, legislation introduced by Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) to help deter illegal and unsolicited robocalls. The legislation aligns with a resolution passed by the North Dakota House of Representatives calling for a solution to the unwanted calls.

“These calls are not merely an annoyance, but they can be attempts to defraud residents across our state and nation,” said Hoeven. “That’s why I’ve cosponsored this legislation, which will help deter this illegal activity. Our bill would strengthen the FCC’s ability to track down and penalize offenders, while also promoting the adoption of technology to help protect consumers.”

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 Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 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.