Fifty-four state and territory attorneys general have endorsed federal legislation known as the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (“TRACED”) Act. Originally introduced last year, and reintroduced this year by Senators John Thune (D-SD) and Ed Markey (D-Mass), the Act includes a number of provisions, including requiring voice service providers to adopt call authentication technology and expanding the FCC’s authority to levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call on callers that intentionally violate telemarketing restrictions.
The TRACED Act also brings together a broad group of governmental agencies, including the Department of Justice, FCC, FTC, CFPB, Department of Commerce, Department of State, and Department of Homeland Security, along with state attorneys general and other federal and non-federal entities to identify and report to Congress on improving deterrence and criminal prosecution at the federal and state level of robocall scams.
In a letter from the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), the AGs indicated they “believe that this legislation effectively addresses many of the concerns raised by federal regulators, voice service providers, private businesses, consumer advocacy groups, and other interested parties to combat illegal robocalls and spoofing, and we are heartened that it enables the telecom industry, federal regulators, and our offices to take meaningful steps to abate the rapid proliferation of these illegal and unwanted robocalls.”
With consumer complaints pouring into their offices, AGs continue to look ineffective with the continued rise in unwanted telemarketing calls over the last few years. In 2018, robocalls increased by more than 36%. As chief legal officers of the states and territories, AGs lead the enforcement of Do-Not-Call laws and aid consumers who are scammed by illegal calls.
A leader in the consumer protection arena for more than two decades, Helen is a founding partner of M&S and former Chief of the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section. Her practice focuses on defense of federal, state, and multistate consumer protection investigations and enforcement actions.