Representatives Clarke, Van Drew, Rouda, Bilirakis, Foxx, and Walberg Make Strides in Eliminating Robocall Schemes with Newly Introduced Legislation
Washington, D.C. - Representatives Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Harley Rouda (CA-48), Virginia Foxx (NC-05) and Tim Walberg (MI-07) introduced the Ending One-Ring Scams Act of 2019 (H.R. 3264) yesterday. This bipartisan legislation empowers the Department of Justice to stop robocallers from defrauding consumers through malicious phone call scams.
When consumers call back a missed call, often unaware it’s a robocall, robocallers can collect fees from cell phone carriers. These incurred fees trickle down to consumers on their cell phone bills.
YouMail estimates that there were nearly 48 billion robocalls in 2018, a 64 percent increase since 2016. First Orion predicts that this year, 44.6 percent of all calls to mobile phones will be scam calls.
Clarke said: “We know that robocalls are annoying and harassing, but they also have the potential to cause financial harm to the American people. More than 200,000 people complained to the Federal Communications Commission last year about robocalls—topping the list of complaints to the FCC. The Ending One-Rings Scams Act will safeguard Americans from falling victim to dangerous robocall scams.”
Van Drew said: “With the Ending One-Ring Scams Act of 2019, I continue my fight against those that prey on the weak. For illegal robocallers, the goal isn't always getting you to answer, it's getting you to call back. Over the years, countless people throughout South Jersey have shared with me that they are constantly harassed by robocalls and scams. These scams are not only an inconvenience at the dinner table, but they prey on the vulnerable, including seniors, and it’s despicable.”
Rouda said: “Cracking down on one-ring robocall scams will make the finances of vulnerable Americans, especially seniors, more secure, and the lives of all people in Orange County a little easier. I’m thankful for this bipartisan group of legislators, who reached across the aisle to protect Americans’ bank accounts-- and their sanity.”
Bilirakis said: “We all hate the plague of robocalls. For some, they are more than a nuisance, as unsuspecting victims suffer financial harm. Sadly, these bad actors target the elderly and most vulnerable for these crimes. Our bipartisan legislation will help protect the public from these tactics.”
Foxx said: “Almost everyone I know has experienced the extreme annoyance of one ring scammers, and many have even dealt with fees and fraud from calling them back. As a longtime proponent of greater regulation over robocalls, I am proud to work with my bipartisan colleagues on the Ending One-Ring Scams Act to ensure that the FCC seeks an effective regulatory solution to curb one ring scams.”
Walberg said: “In my travels across Michigan, I constantly hear about the annoyance of unwanted robocalls. But not only are they a big nuisance, they can also scam our most vulnerable by tricking them into paying huge hidden fees on return phone calls. As we tackle this widespread problem, our bipartisan legislation takes important action to protect consumers from bad actors who perpetrate this type of robocall scheme.”
Specifically, the Ending One-Ring Scams Act of 2019 would:
- Ensure the FCC initiates a proceeding to protect the called consumers from one-ring scams;
- Ensure the FCC considers how it can work with Federal and State law enforcement agencies to address the issue, work with governments of foreign countries, incentivize voice service providers to stop calls made to perpetrate the issue, work with entities that provide call-blocking services to address the issue;
- Encourage the FCC to work with the governments of foreign countries to address one-ring scams;
- Require the FCC to publish a report on the status of its work to Congress no later than 1 year after passage; and
- Require the FCC to consult with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to educate consumers on how to avoid one-ring scams and incentivize voice service providers to stop calls made to perpetrate one-ring scams.
Sarah Sinovic (Clarke)
Mackenzie Lucas (Van Drew)
Zach Helder (Rouda)
Summer Robertson (Bilirakis)
Sara Werner (Foxx)
Dan Kotman (Walberg)