House passes robocalls bill to block unverified callers, fake caller IDs

The U.S. House passed a bill requiring telephone providers to verify a caller's identity before allowing it to go through and block fake caller IDs.
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WASHINGTON (AP) (7/24/2019) - The House has passed a bill aimed at combating robocalls, the latest attempt to counter the wave of spam calls as complaints pile up.

Federal agencies have also stepped up anti-robocall measures, allowing carriers to block unwanted calls by default and encouraging the wireless industry to roll out technology that guarantees the number showing up on your caller ID isn't faked to fool you into answering a scammer.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Democrat from Flint, said the bill also would require telephone carriers to confirm that all calls are from a verified caller before the call can be put through.

Criminal penalties for people engaging in robocalls would be added under the law.

“We know the amount of robocalls Americans receive have increased over the years and these calls are scamming people out of their hard earned money," Kildee said. "I’m proud that both Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives came together to act to protect Michiganders and stop these calls.

The Senate passed a bill similar to the House one, the Traced Act, in May, with near-unanimous support. The House version, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, goes further in attempting to stop companies from making telemarketing calls.

Both bills have support from consumer groups and the telecom industry.

The House has passed the robocall bill by a 429-3 vote.

Kildee said an estimated 26.3 billion unwanted calls were placed in the U.S. last year, which is 46 percent more than in 2017. More than 22 million Americans lost a total of $9.5 billion in robocall scams in 2016.

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