Schumer wants to strengthen fed robocall law

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U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is preparing to introduce legislation to toughen penalties for violations of federal Do Not Call rules, including $20,000 fines for each violation and jail time for the “most egregious” offenders.

“When it comes to the loopholes-exploiting robocall industry, we need to fight fire with fire — and that means higher penalties, jail time and better technology to fight the spammers who have ruined countless family dinners, sporting events and other family gatherings,” Schumer said. “The Do Not Call list is a great idea that needs some updating to make it better suited to our modern world.”

Schumer said the number of such illegal phone calls has been “exploding” due to automated dialing machines.

“This technology has evolved in recent years to allow even one person to make millions of pre-recorded calls with the click of a mouse,” Schumer said.

Under Schumer’s proposed legislation, use of automated dialing machines would go from being a misdemeanor punishable by a small fine and no jail time to a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 fines per call.

In addition to being illegal, many of these automated calls involve scam artists and callers are often masked behind “caller ID spoofing,” the practice of displaying a different number on the recipient’s caller ID system.

Published reports suggest that the number of robocall complaints by U.S. consumers has increased from 65,000 in October 2010 to between 140,000 and 200,000 monthly as of this past August.

Telemarketers are supposed to check the Do Not Call registry every 31 days to ensure they do not call a newly updated phone number on the list.

If a person is listed on the Do Not Call registry, that person can file a complaint on the Do Not Call website.

Federal government agencies have tried to crack down on so-called scam artists and robocallers, but have been hamstrung by the minor penalties they are authorized to impose, Schumer said.

The national Do Not Call registry was implemented in 2003 and designed to give telephone users a choice on whether or not they would like to receive telemarketing calls at home.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at or phone at 718-260-4536.

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Reader Feedback

susan from queens says:
Oh please what a joke! I am on the "do not call list" but I still get 5 calls a day from polls and advertisers!
Dec. 1, 2013, 7:40 am
drop the ball from Queens says:
Lawlessness is abundant but he is worried about unwanted calls. In 111 precinct crime up 33% over last November thanks to permissive attitude of local politicians like socialist mayor elect. Looks like pre Rudy G days.
Dec. 1, 2013, 5:33 pm

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