April 18, 2018

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Legislation To Fight Illegal Robocalls

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a member of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, cosponsored the Robocall Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2018. The legislation was introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) to help the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prosecute violations of its automated telemarketing call rules by increasing the statute of limitations from one year to three.

“Congress must do more to protect consumers from the rapidly increasing number of illegal robocalls, which defraud millions of Americans each year,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “As Attorney General of Nevada, I saw firsthand how these robocalls harm consumers and target vulnerable seniors through phishing and identify theft scams that can damage their credit and threaten their personal data security and bank accounts. This bill would give the FCC the tools it needs to prosecute scammers to the fullest extent of the law. Hardworking Americans deserve robust, enforceable protections against these unwanted and unlawful robocalls.”

The Robocall Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2018 would help regulators fight illegal robocalls by:

  • Lengthening the statute of limitations for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) pursuing violations of its robocall rules from one to three years;
  • Lengthening the statute of limitations for the FCC pursuing violations of its rules against callers using fake caller identification information, also known as spoofing, from two years to three; and
  • Allowing the FCC to pursue cases against robocall rule violations without first issuing a citation.

Also today, Senator Cortez Masto joined a group of 15 senators in calling for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish protections for consumers from unwanted and harassing robocalls and robotexts.

In the letter, the senators call on the FCC to establish consumer safeguards under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that would establish a comprehensive definition of the term auto dialer so that affirmative consent is received from consumers before calls are made, restrict unwanted calls and texts to reassigned numbers, and reiterate that consumers always have the right to revoke consent at any time should they no longer wish the receive robocalls or robotexts. A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

Background

Complaints about unwanted robocalls have rapidly increased in recent years. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 4.5 million robocall complaints, an increase of over a million calls from the year before. Las Vegas residents received over 26.7 million robocalls last month alone. The process of identifying and going after robocall violators often takes months, making it difficult to move forward with a case under the current one year statute of limitations.

###