Finkenauer Helps Pass Bill to Stop Predatory Robocalls

December 4, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) voted to pass the bipartisan and bicameral Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. The bill passed the House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon 417-3.

“I heard directly from folks in my district about how robocalls are impacting them, and since then, have been working to take action. It’s heartbreaking to hear stories of people who handed over hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to a scammer,” Congresswoman Finkenauer said, “These con artists target vulnerable people in our communities to intimidate them into wiring money or giving up personal information that could lead to identity theft. We need to look out for our fellow Iowans and I’m happy to be taking additional action to stop these abusive practices.”

Since hearing directly from constituents in a Dubuque townhall, Finkenauer has been working across the aisle to try and stop Iowans from being targeted by robocalls. In July, she cosponsored and helped pass the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act.

While robocalls can be an annoying nuisance, they are becoming more harmful and predatory. Robocalls have been disguised as the IRS looking to collect a debt, local governments and police departments, and loved ones, in trouble, looking for help. Congress has even heard stories of scammers disrupting the operations of hospitals.

2018 saw a nearly 60% increase in the number of robocalls over the previous year and this disturbing trend continues. Approximately half of all calls made to US cell phones in 2019 will be spam, according to the FCC.

The TRACED Act:

  • Requires carriers to offer call-authentication technology to consumers and small businesses—in rural and urban America—at no additional charge;
  • Requires Opt-in or opt-out robocall blocking be offered at no additional charge to consumers;
  • Gives the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the ability to step up enforcement actions against unlawful robocalls with a longer statute of limitations and increased fines in certain cases;
  • Pushes the Department of Justice to bring more criminal prosecutions against criminal robocallers;
  • Requires the FCC to work to stop one-ring scams;
  • Helps the FCC and responsible carriers traceback and cutoff suspect phone companies that are responsible for sending vast numbers of unlawful robocalls; and
  • Protects patients, doctors and hospitals from unlawful robocalls.