SIGNED INTO LAW: Latta’s Bipartisan Bill to Combat Robocalls
Bowling Green, OH, December 31, 2019 | Rebecca Card (202.225.6405)
Americans will have the security of knowing their incoming calls are legitimate because yesterday, the President signed into law a bipartisan bill, the TRACED Act, to combat the illegal robocalls that are hounding Americans across the country. The TRACED Act is a collaborative legislative package authored by members of the Senate and the House, including Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5), Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA).
“Our phones that connect us to the world should be used for good, not for manipulative and illegal spam calls that have tricked countless people out of time and money. The TRACED Act takes significant steps to protect consumers from scams and fraud. This is a shining example of when Members of Congress are committed to working together in order to solve real problems facing our country, progress can be made that will better the lives of Americans in every state,” said Congressman Latta.
Robocalls are continuing to harass Americans in Ohio and beyond, and last year alone, there were almost 48 billion robocalls made to people across the country, compared to just over 30 billion robocalls made the year before in 2017. In 2016, 22 million Americans, including senior citizens who are some of our nation’s most vulnerable residents, lost $9.6 billion in robocall scams.
With the TRACED Act signed into law, phone companies will be required to verify and authenticate incoming calls so consumers can identify which calls are legitimate.
According to the FCC, they receive over 200,000 complaints a year from residents receiving predatory robocalls. Congressman Latta worked with Energy and Commerce Members and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman, Ajit Pai, to focus on possible solutions in order to best combat these unwanted scam calls. Congressman Latta introduced the STOP Robocalls Act and shortly thereafter, the FCC voted to allow phone companies to block illegal robocalls. Read about their work in an op-ed they wrote in the Plain Dealer.
One of the bills included in the TRACED Act is the STOP Robocalls Act, which gives phone companies and the FCC the tools they need to fight back against robocalls. The STOP Robocalls Act ensures consumers can identify which calls are being blocked – similar to the spam filter in email – and create a pathway to stop wanted calls from being blocked. This would ensure consumers’ access to desirable, and at times, life-saving calls and text messages are preserved while also protecting them from bad actors who fraudulently spoof caller ID information to make illegal robocalls. It also improves information sharing to enhance the FCC’s ability to track and stop illegal robocall and spoofing operations. As technology continues to evolve, so do the tactics that bad actors use to illegally spoof numbers to make fraudulent robocalls. It is important to allow these companies and the FCC to keep pace.
Congressman Latta is the Republican Leader on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology where he worked with his colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, in order to get the TRACED Act through the legislative process in order to provide relief to Ohioans who received 1.7 billion robocalls in 2018.
To read an op-ed in the Washington Examiner authored by Congressman Latta in 2018 focused on the need for Congressional action in order to combat robocalls, click here.
Congressman Latta has served on all six Energy and Commerce subcommittees. The Energy and Commerce Committee is the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and is vested with the broadest jurisdiction of any congressional authorizing committee.