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March 8, 2019

Media contact: Liz Brocker (701)328-2213

BISMARCK, ND - Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem joined attorneys general nationwide in urging the US Senate to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, legislation to curb illegal robocalls and spoofing. These illegal calls have been the number one consumer complaint reported to Stenehjem’s office in each of the last three years.

The coalition of fifty-four attorneys general sent the letter earlier this week to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, in support of the TRACED Act. The legislation is sponsored by Sens. John Thune and Ed Markey. In their letter, the attorneys general state that the TRACED Act enables states, federal regulators, and telecom providers to take steps to combat these illegal calls.

“Consumers are plagued by these incessant illegal calls, to their landlines and cell phones, and are frustrated that the telemarketers and scam artists appear to ignore federal laws with impunity. The TRACED Act will provide Attorneys General and federal enforcement agencies with the necessary tools to block these calls and also to hold the perpetrators responsible,” said Stenehjem.

Among other measures, the Act:

  • requires telephone service providers to adopt authentication technology to verify a call is legitimate before connecting it to a consumer’s phone,
  • requires the FCC to adopt rules to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or text messages,  
  • broadens the scope of the FCC’s enforcement authority and extends the statute of limitations to give them up to three years after a robocall is placed to pursue the violators,
  • increases the FCC’s maximum penalty to $10,000 per call, from $1,500.   
  • creates a working group that will explore, in consultation with state attorneys generals, additional actions to reduce robocalls and hold telemarketers and robocallers accountable.

Nationwide, more than 48 billion robocalls were made in 2018, making them the number one source of consumer complaints to the FTC and the FCC and resulting in millions in consumer losses.

The attorneys generals from all fifty states, three US Territories and the District of Columbia signed the letter.

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