Law­mak­ers want to curb those pesky robo­calls

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

WASHINGTON — You prob­a­bly re­ceive a few of these types of calls per week.

“Hello,” an au­to­mated voice will say, of­ten os­ten­si­bly from a num­ber with the same area code as you. “This mes­sage is to in­form you that … ”

Rep. Frank Pal­lone of New Jersey and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts want to put an end to many of those.

The Democrats in­tro­duced the Stop­ping Bad Robo­calls Act in the House and Se­nate last week, tight­en­ing re­stric­tions and en­force­ment on com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als who make the calls.

“There is noth­ing more an­noy­ing than re­peat­edly get­ting un­wanted calls from peo­ple you don’t know and don’t want to talk to,” Pal­lone said in a state­ment last week.

“The Stop­ping Bad Robo­calls Act will bet­ter re­strict unau­tho­rized robo­calls by pro­vid­ing con­sumer pro­tec­tion agen­cies with new tools de­signed to stop the abu­sive prac­tices robo­callers are em­ploy­ing,” he said.

Amer­i­cans re­ceived roughly 18 bil­lion of such calls in 2017, a sharp in­crease from pre­vi­ous years. Robo­calls net roughly $ 20 in profit per dol­lar spent on oper­a­tions costs.

Some robo­calls are placed by real com­pa­nies who fol­low pro­ce­dures from the na­tional Do Not Call Reg­istry, which re­stricts calls to any­one who reg­is­ters their phone on the data­base. But scam­mers hunt­ing for money or vi­tal per­sonal in­for­ma­tion also place calls.

“Whether at home or on their mo­bile phones, con­sumers should not be sub­ject to in­tru­sive and un­so­licited calls,” Markey said in a state­ment.

The new leg­is­la­tion would grant more author­ity to the Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion to crack down on ma­li­cious robo­callers; al­low tele­phone and cell phone cus­tomers to re­voke con­sent they had pre­vi­ously given to re­ceive calls; cre­ate a data­base of num­bers that have trans­ferred from one phone cus­tomer to an­other that are now off- lim­its to robo­callers; and ex­tend the statute of lim­i­ta­tions from one year to four years for any­one who vi­o­lates robo­call­ing rules.

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