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Proposed federal legislation aims to take swipe at robocalls

BISMARCK — Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., says he is responding to a recent resolution passed by an 89-0 vote by the state House urging the federal government to deal with robocalls.

Hoeven announced Friday he is cosponsoring the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, legislation introduced by senators John Thune, R-S.D., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., to help deter illegal and unsolicited robocalls.

While most businesses that use prerecorded messages and automated dialing systems are legitimate, many robocalls are scams and are intended to defraud the recipient. The Federal Trade Commission received 4.5 million complaints regarding robocalls in 2017.

In order to help combat this issue, the TRACED Act would:

  • Increase the Federal Communication Commission's maximum penalty for those who intentionally violate telemarketing restrictions to $10,000 per call, up from $1,500.
  • Extend the window for the FCC to take civil action against offenders.
  • Promote call authentication technology to allow telephone carriers to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before reaching consumers’ phones.
  • Direct the FCC to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or texts from callers using unauthenticated numbers.
  • Bring together federal, state and local authorities to identify and report to Congress on improving deterrence and criminal prosecution of robocall scams.