Congress, FTC cracking down on robocalls

WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - The Trump administration and Congress are on a full-court press against one of the most annoying aspects of modern life: robocalls.

The subject is about as close to a bipartisan issue as you’ll find in Washington as everybody hates robocalls. But the “Do Not Call List” hasn’t prevented them and the federal laws are outdated and way behind robocall technology.

“I’m afraid people are just going to lose faith in the phone system and not answer the phone. I find myself doing that and it might be something that’s important so this is really a threat to our telephone system,” Rep. Frank Pallone, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee told FOX 5.

House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings have zeroed in on new bills aimed at beefing up the government’s outdated powers for finding and punishing illegal robocallers.

For example, Pallone said the current laws don’t cover modern computer call technology so one bill forces phone companies to design new call authentication systems.

Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission revealed Tuesday morning that it has issued 94 charges and warnings against dozens of illegal robocallers responsible for an estimated 1 billion spam calls.

Noah Phillips, the commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, said their operation’s code name is “Call It Quits.”

“We’re going after people who not only benefit from this kind of conduct in terms of selling scams and fraudulent product and things like that but also the people who facilitate their efforts who sell them the technology” Phillips explained.

The FTC said robocalls are not just annoying, they’re often pushing scams that pitch everything from phony credit card rate reductions, money-making schemes, fake medical alerts and security systems.

The Republican-controlled Senate passed its robocall bill unanimously and the Democratic-controlled House is expected to follow suit.