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Local

House passes anti-robocalls bill

Kinzinger: Bill is a big step forward

Congressman Adam Kinzinger supported a bill that would impose fines on neighbor spoofing violators.

Neighbor spoofing is a technique used by phone scammers to make incoming calls appear on caller IDs as if they are from a local number, matching the first six digits of the recipient's phone number. This technique increases the likelihood the recipient will answer the phone.

The bill, known as the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, passed by a 417-3 vote margin.

“This anti-Robocall bill provides the FCC new authorities to impose substantial fines on violators — up to $20,000 per violation, and possibly higher in some cases," Kinzinger, R-Channahon, said on the House floor. "It requires phone companies to verify callers and help block robocalls, all at no extra charge to consumers."

Kinzinger noted robocalls are an issue nearly all Americans can agree are annoying and neighbor spoofing causes real issues.

“While robocalls are annoying, one of the most troubling trends over the past couple of years is known as 'neighbor spoofing' — we’ve all seen these calls from numbers beginning with our own area codes," Kinzinger said on the House floor. "And while some of these spoofed numbers are fakes, many actually belong to ordinary Americans, resulting in even more problems."

Kinzinger said by some estimates, nearly 48 billion robocalls were made in the U.S. in 2018, which is a 57% increase since 2017. He said officials believe those numbers will increase over the next year.

"This legislation is a big step forward," Kinzinger said. "But given the rapidly changing technology, combined with the fact that many of these calls come from overseas, we can’t let up. More will need to be done."

He said the bill requires a number of reports to Congress in the coming months that will crack down on perpetrators.
 
Go to https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/3375/text for the House version of the bill, HR 3375.

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