Proposed Legislation Aimed at Cracking down on Robocalls
A proposed bill would require telecommunications companies to crack down on “neighbor spoofing” robocalls, which are designed to appear as a local call. Senate Bill 208 (SB 208) was introduced by state Senator Ben Hueso and it gives telecommunication companies until July 1, 2020, “to take the steps necessary to stop these illegal scams.” According to a statement by Senator Hueso’s office, the bill also requests that the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Attorney General’s Office work together in punishing companies that fail to stop the calls. Robocalls often peak during the tax season, when many Americans receive fraudulent calls that claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service. According to the Federal Communications Commission, there are about 4 billion robocalls made a month in the United States, which equals over 1,500 calls per second.
Robocalls are already strictly regulated in California, but they still continue to be a problem. Robocalls are restricted to between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the state and the California Public Utilities Commission states that they may only be used in limited circumstances. These circumstances include a school informing parents of a student’s attendance or a police department issuing a public safety alert. According to a robocall report released last month by a data services company called Transaction Network Services, 143 million “nuisance and high risk calls” were placed on Tax Day 2018, with scam artists commonly posing as IRS employees. We will have to wait and see if the proposed legislation passes.