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Bipartisan robocall law signed by Trump authorizes FCC to target scammers

Audrey Conklin

President Trump signed a bipartisan law Monday night that allows the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to target robocall scammers.

Scammers made nearly 54 billion robocalls in 2019 -- a 13 percent increase since 2018 when 47.8 billion robocalls were made, and a 77 percent increase since 2017 when 30.5 billion robocalls were made, according to robocall-blocking software YouMail's robocall index.

These calls trick people into participating in health care scams, student loan scams, business scams and more, YouMail found.

The act called the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, or the TRACED Act, authorizes the FCC to penalize those who "intentionally violate restrictions on the use of automated telephone equipment (i.e., illegal robocalls and spoofing)," reads a Monday statement from the office of the White House press secretary.

THIS IS THE NO. 1 ROBOCALL SCAM AND THE STATES WHERE PEOPLE GET HASSLED THE MOST

The TRACED Act also "directs the FCC to require voice service providers to offer call authentication technologies to consumers," according to the statement.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai thanked the president for his decision to sign the act into law in a Monday statement.

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"I applaud Congress for working in a bipartisan manner to combat illegal robocalls and malicious caller ID spoofing. And I thank the president and Congress for the additional tools and flexibility that this law affords us," he said.

"Specifically, I am glad that the agency now has a longer statute of limitations during which we can pursue scammers and I welcome the removal of a previously-required warning we had to give to unlawful robocallers before imposing tough penalties," he added.

Pai also thanked the American people for never letting the FCC "forget how fed up they are with scam, spoofed robocalls."

"I want to thank the President for his strong support of this bill. And I thank the American people for never letting us forget how fed up they are with scam, spoofed robocalls. It’s their voices that power our never-ceasing push to fight back against the scourge of robocalls and malicious spoofing," he concluded.

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