Robocalling is out of control in America.
Telemarketers and others — including those involved in illegal activity — have figured ways to beat the efforts such as do-not-call lists to bombard us with calls on our landlines and cellphones.
We have long said a serious national crackdown on robocalls is needed.
On Thursday U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore. — and representative of Umatilla County — teamed with U.S. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., D-New Jersey, to sponsor the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act.
“Americans deserve to be free of the daily danger and harassment of robocalls,” Walden and Pallone said in a joint statement. “It’s time we end the robocall epidemic and restore trust back into our phone system. We’re pleased to announce we’ve reached a deal on comprehensive bipartisan legislation to stop illegal robocalls.”
Walden said an estimated 47.8 billion robocalls were placed nationwide in the past year, an increase of 17 billion calls over the previous year. The illegal calls affect American life in increasingly harmful ways, from scams to disrupting the health care system, Walden said.
The legislation requires phone carriers to implement call authentication technology so consumers can trust their caller ID again, with no additional charge for consumers, and includes a process to help rural carriers implement the technology, according to the Walden and Pallone news release. The act also allows carriers to offer free call blocking services on an opt-out basis.
“Americans should be able to block robocalls in a consistent and transparent way without being charged extra for it,” Walden and Pallone said in the release.
This legislation seems reasonable and should easily be able to gain consensus in Congress. Yet, when it comes to issues involving the making of money, it’s never easy.
The people need to make it clear to their representatives and senators that they want to have the option of blocking robocalls and screen others calls. The robocallers have come up with a way to use local prefixes such as 525, 527 and 520 to make it seem as if they call is coming from Walla Walla. It’s not, and it wrong to trick people for nefarious purposes.
Beyond that, the constant barrage of calls has resulted in many people no longer answering their phones unless they recognize the call. This avoids them getting scammed, but it also means they miss calls that are legitimate.
Walden and Pallone have come up with a plan that should curb many of problems associated with robocalls.