April 1, 2019
UPDATE: December 11th, 2019 – A recent vote passed in the House of Representatives with a nearly unanimous vote of 417 to 3. The TRACED Act is anticipated to be passed by the Senate in the coming weeks. President Trump could sign it into law before Christmas 2019.

In 2019, if you ask 10 people who own a cell phone if they get robocalls, all 10 should say yes.

There were more than 48 billion robocalls last year alone!  Yes that’s billion with a big ole “B”. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is interested in finding ways to crack down on illegal telemarketing. Attorney Generals across the country including Moody are working to get several organizations to join forces and fight robocalls with the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act or TRACED Act for short.

  • More than 48 billion robocalls made last year
  • Florida AG Ashley Moody, other leaders supporting TRACED Act
  • The bill aims to reduce the illegal telemarketing calls
  • Read the entire bill here

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The beginnings of the TRACE Act

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) a member of the committee and author of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, announced the introduction of S. 3655 back in November of 2018.

“As the scourge of spoofed calls and robocalls reaches epidemic levels, the bipartisan TRACED Act will provide every person with a phone much needed relief,” Markey added. “It’s a simple formula: call authentication, blocking, and enforcement, and this bill achieves all three. I thank Chairman Thune for his partnership on this effort, and look forward to seeing this legislation through to its passage.”

Attorney General Moody and Attorneys Generals nationwide sent a letter applauding the bipartisan TRACED Act, designed to reduce the number of telemarketing calls.  In a statement, Ashley Moody explained, “TRACED Act enables states, federal regulators, and telecom providers to take steps in combating illegal robocalls. It will create an interagency working group to take additional actions to reduce robocalls and hold telemarketers and robocallers accountable.”

Many of these robocalls are scams and these scammers have already swindled over $290 million from unsuspecting consumers that we know of.

“I know people whose grandparents have been ripped off by those kind of calls. They get tricked into sending money to people,” said Orlando resident Seana Park-Dalton.

There is a coalition totaling 54 Attorneys General in the fight against these calls. The bill is currently in the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

It will still need to be passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives and signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Summary of the TRACED Act:

  • Broadens the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call who intentionally flout telemarketing restrictions.
  • Extends the window for the FCC to catch and take civil enforcement action against intentional violations to three years after a robocall is placed. Under current law the FCC has only one year to do so and the FCC has told the committee that “even a one-year longer statute of limitations for enforcement” would improve enforcement against willful violators.
  • Brings together the Department of Justice, FCC, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Commerce, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other relevant federal agencies as well as state attorneys general and other non-federal entities to identify and report to Congress on improving deterrence and criminal prosecution at the federal and state level of robocall scams.
  • Requires providers of voice services to adopt call authentication technologies, enabling a telephone carrier to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before they reach consumers’ phones.
  • Directs the FCC to initiate a rule making to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or texts from callers using unauthenticated numbers.

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