Robocallers Beware – US Government is Coming for You
United States Nationwide Crackdown on Robocalls
Cristal M Clark
I wear a lot of hats at my job and one of them happens to be obtaining numbers for each robocall we get, now of course I have to rely on my team to assist with this, currently I have something of like 20 lists of phone numbers all robocalls and telemarketing bullshit.
One of my favorites is someone insisting their call is not a sales call, I don’t waste a lot of time, I simply ask if they charge for their services, when they answer yes, I laugh and hang up, it’s a bloody sales call you bloody wanker.
On any given day my organization can receive up to 50+ robocalls, before noon and every time the US government makes an announcement to crack down on them, it only seems to intensify the number of calls we get in a day.
This week the US Government sent out a warning to robocallers, “We’re coming for you!” more or less.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. government has been cleared to conduct a nationwide crackdown on illegal robocalls that target companies and individuals who, according to the FTC have collectively placed over 1 billion unwanted calls for financial schemes and other services. The numbers are actually quite a bit hither than a mere 1 billion, the problem is that people got sick of reporting the calls to the FTC because it hasn’t seemed to do much in the way of preventing them from continuing.
I log the numbers and block them, the biggest reason I log them however is that by the time the FTC really does start to crack down on them, I’ll just forward the lists over to them.
According the FTC the crackdown involves nearly 100 cases, 5 of them are criminal enforcement actions. They were brought by the FTC, Justice Department, 15 states and local authorities. Derek Jason Bartoli, is one of the targets, a Florida man who allegedly developed, sold and used a form of software that allows millions of calls to be placed in quick succession, was responsible for 57 million calls to US phone numbers over six months in 2017, according to a federal complaint. I know many of you would just love to give good ole Derek the one finger salute, as would I but let’s just let the feds handle him for now.
Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection said; “By putting people like Derek Bartoli out of business, we are able to deprive the robocallers of the important tools of their trade.” Which is actually a rather bit, inaccurate if you will. Derek’s software has been sold, copied and improved upon by others, part of the reason robocalls have gotten so out of hand.
Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are preparing legislation that would expand the government’s power to limit illegal robocalls. On Tuesday, a House subcommittee is expected to consider the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act. The bill directs the Federal Communications Commission to flesh out its rules making clear that robocalls may only be made to consumers with their consent. In the Senate, the TRACED Act would expand the FCC’s power to punish illegal robocallers by increasing the maximum fines the agency can levy for each robocall and by extending the statute of limitations from 1 to just 3 years. And, the FTC still wants us to report the unwanted calls which they say will empower them to stop the calls.
I am not a huge fan of doing the job for the FTC however, my mobile carrier already knows which calls are spam and which are not, perhaps the FTC should expand upon it’s ability to ask individuals for help and start asking mobile carriers, Google is also from what I hear and excellent resource to find known robocall numbers, YouMail actually keeps a free online known Robo/Spam caller index and includes the actual number of reported complaints along with each number and let me tell you, some of those numbers are staggering.
The biggest problem I have with the FTC asking everyone to report the numbers to them is that we have been doing just that for years and to date all we keep seeing is lip service, pretty little laws that are on paper, but other than that, not much is being done to actually stop the unwanted calls. Consumers want to see swift action, and harsh action.
Either do something or shut it, consumers are getting really tired of lip service from our Government who promises action, yet does very little in the way of that.
Cristal M Clark