FOX43 Finds Out: Lawmakers and regulators try to stop illegal robocalls

$10.5 billion over the past 12 months, that's how much money a study by truecaller finds Americans have lost to phone scams and now lawmakers are trying to stop the criminals from placing those calls.

"The perpetrators of these crimes must pursued and prosecuted to the full extent of the law and they should be behind bars," said US Senator from Pennsylvania Bob Casey.

He has introduced legislation called the Stop Senior Scams Act.

"This bill will create another line of defense against scammers but giving bank tellers, cashiers and others tolls to spot a scam and prevent someone from ever handing over cash to a stranger on the phone," said Senator Casey.

There is also a push to stop the calls from getting to US consumers in the first place.

A Telecommunications consultant says this graphic shows how robocalls get to your phone.

He says a way to stop this is to better regulate voice over internet protocol or VOIP providers.

They allow people to make phone calls using the internet.

"The best place to stop this illegal traffic is with those providers, where the traffic is most concentrated as the illegal calls move through the network they disperse and are co-mingled with other calls, making it detection more difficult," said the Telecommunications consultant David Frankel.

There are thousands of VoIP providers.

Some of them allow callers to fudge caller ID numbers to make it look like the call is coming from your area - which is called spoofing.
The Telecommunications consultant says if you can find the VoIP providers in US that are allowing these calls to happen, that would drastically cut the number of scam calls.

"It makes no sense for a robocaller in India, identified only by a Gmail address, to place a huge number of calls that look like they're originating from all over the USA. VOIP providers within our borders that allow that to happen are the best choke point to stop the illegal robocall surge."

There are other proposals to cut down on robocalls.
The US senate passed legislation called the TRACED Act, which stands for Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence.

It would give the FCC more power to go illegal robocalls.

It also requires telecom companies to implement technology to trace where calls are actually coming from making it harder to spoof numbers.

At least one company, AT&T, has announced it will release a robocall blocking feature for customers in the upcoming months.

The company says that service will be free.

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