Today the United States Senate unanimously passed the conference report of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED) Act, sending the bill to President Trump’s desk. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is a cosponsor of the TRACED Act, which will crack down on the illegal robocalls that inundate Missourians every day. The final version of the legislation includes a proposal from Senator Hawley and Senator Susan Collins that will make it easier to prosecute criminal robocallers by extending the statute of limitations for illegal spoofing.

“Criminal robocallers have been hounding and ripping off Missourians for far too long,” said Senator Hawley. “This legislation will help block illegal robocalls and hold these fraudsters accountable.”

Background

  • In recent years, scammers have flooded the U.S. telecommunications network with robocalls. In 2018, there were nearly 50,000 complaints to then-Attorney General Hawley’s office about illegal telemarking calls, topping the list of consumer complaints for that year.
  • The TRACED Act, originally introduced by Senator John Thune and Senator Ed Markey, takes aim at this epidemic by increasing civil forfeiture penalties on illegal robocallers, eliminating restrictions on regulators, and requiring that voice service providers adopt new call authentication technology to verify incoming calls at no cost to the consumer.

Senator Hawley’s Provision

  • In July 2019, Senator Hawley joined Senator Susan Collins and a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues in introducing the Anti-Spoofing Penalties Modernization Act of 2019. This legislation would crack down on illegal spoofing, a tactic often used by robocallers to trick victims into answering phone calls by manipulating Caller ID data. Like Senator Hawley’s bill, the final conference report of the TRACED Act includes a provision to extend the statute of limitations for illegal spoofing.
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