U.S. Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined Senate colleagues in calling for legislation to enhance penalties for automated and illegal phone calls wreaking havoc on consumers nationwide. The Deter Obnoxious, Nefarious, and Outrageous Telephone (DO NOT) Call Act would increase penalties for individuals and companies intentionally preying on consumers through unsolicited and illegal robocalls.
“From every corner of New York there is one thing everyone can agree upon, and that is the enduring hope that the robocalls stop,” said Senator Schumer. “Americans are desperate to ‘hang up the phone’ and the DO NOT Call Act is the antidote we need to cut the cord on ‘spoofing’ scams that target especially elderly New Yorkers. Whether it’s the landline or cell, no one should be scared to pick up the phone, and I will fight tooth and nail to ensure that New Yorkers can have some peace and quiet from the incessant ringing of robocalls.”
“Robocalls are surging nationwide as advancements in technology have made it easier for scammers to prey on vulnerable New Yorkers with little to no consequence. Not only is this harmful to consumers, but frankly, we don’t have time for the nuisance and deception,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This vital piece of legislation will give the FCC the tools needed to combat scammers who grossly violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and, all too often, target and defraud senior Americans. I am a fierce advocate of the DO NOT Call Act, and will do everything I can to put sensible protections in place and put an end to unsolicited robocalls.”
According to YouMail, nearly 4.5 billion robocalls targeted Americans in April of 2021 alone. Of those calls, 229,042,000 took place in New York State, making it the fifth most-called state in the nation. Consumers lose approximately $40 billion a year through telemarketing fraud. The Deter Obnoxious, Nefarious, and Outrageous Telephone (DO NOT) Call Act would:
- Clarify violations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which outlaws robocalls;
- Allow prison terms of up to one year for willfully and knowingly violating the TCPA;
- Allow prison terms of up to three years for aggravated violations of the TCPA;
- Double the maximum penalties under the TCPA for falsifying caller ID, from $10,000 to $20,000.
Senator Gillibrand has been a strong advocate of increasing protections for New York consumers. In addition to cosponsoring the DO NOT Call Act in the 116th Congress, Senator Gillibrand was a cosponsor of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, which was signed into law in 2019. For more information and official FCC guidance on the TRACED Act program, click here. Additionally, Senator Gillibrand championed the bipartisan Senior Financial Empowerment Act to ensure that older Americans and caregivers have access to critical information and protections regarding financial abuse, and establish a national hotline to advise seniors on reporting fraud.