United States President Donald Trump has signed the TRACED anti-Robocall legislation into law, providing the FCC with the power to impose fines of up to $10,000 per call for robocallers who are found to be abusing the system and committing offenses.
Trump’s signing of Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act comes after nearly unanimous bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“This historic legislation will provide American consumers with even greater protection against annoying unsolicited robocalls,” wrote the office of Stephanie Grisham, White House Press Secretary.
“American families deserve control over their communications,” continues the statement, “and this legislation will update our laws and regulations to stiffen penalties, increase transparency, and enhance government collaboration to stop unwanted solicitation.”
“President Donald J. Trump is proud to have worked with Congress to get this bipartisan legislation to his desk, and even prouder to sign it into law today,” it concludes.
The act, named for Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), extends the powers of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), giving it the power to impose fines of up to $10,000 per call.
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 on people 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 voice service providers 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 rulemaking to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or texts from callers.
In spite of limited measures previously put in place by carriers such as T-Mobile and Verizon designed to cut down on scam calls the problem has only grown worse. In 2018 an estimated 30% of all phone calls were made by spammers. The number was calculated to grow to as high as 42% in 2019.