With a vote of 429-3, the House of Representatives has passed legislation to crack down on the illegal robocalls that millions of Americans get each year. Area code 941 alone—which covers most of Florida’s 16th congressional district—received more than 44 million scam robocalls in 2018.
The majority of consumer complaints received by the Federal Communications Commission relate to unwanted, illegal calls, many of which hide or disguise the caller’s identity and location. These calls often are from phone numbers that appear similar to those they’re targeting, a tactic known as “spoofing.” Fraudulent calls comprised roughly a quarter of the 26 billion robocalls placed to U.S. mobile numbers last year, according to one industry estimate.
If it becomes law, the bill would allow regulators to swiftly track down scammers and extend the statue of limitations by up to four years to give the FCC adequate time to prosecute illegal robocallers. It would also require phone companies to upgrade caller ID and authentication technology to notify customers if a call is coming from a legitimate number.