This bill — the TRACED Act — would crack down on illegal robocall scams by giving the relevant federal agencies more time and resources to find and prosecute scammers and increasing civil forfeiture penalties for these crimes.
Specifically, this bill would:
- Broaden the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) authority to levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call on people who intentionally flout telemarketing restrictions;
- Extend the window for the FCC to catch and take civil enforcement action against intentional violations to three years after a robocall is placed from one year (under current law) by at least another year;
- Bring the FCC, Dept. of Justice (DOJ), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Commerce Dept., State Dept., Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other relevant federal agencies, as well as state attorneys general and other non-federal entities, together in an interagency working group to study and report to Congress on improving deterrence and criminal prosecution at the federal and state level of robocall scams (specifically, the working group would look into how to better enforce against robocalls by examining issues like the types of laws, policies, or constraints that could be inhibiting enforcement);
- Require voice service providers to adopt call authentication technologies, enabling a telephone carrier to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before they reach consumers’ phones within 18 months of this bill’s enactment, and require the FCC to assess this technology’s implementation and efficacy;
- Direct the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or texts from callers using unauthenticated numbers; and
- Direct the FCC to create a rule establishing when a provider may block a voice call based on information provided by the call authentication framework as well as a process for adversely affected calling parties to verify their calls’ authenticity, as well as a process to allow a calling party adversely affected by the framework to verify their calls' authenticity.
The FCC would also be required to initiate a proceeding to determine whether its policies regarding access to number resources could be modified to help reduce access to numbers by potential robocall violators.
This bill’s full title is the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act.