Duckworth, Durbin help introduce bill to stop illegal robocalls

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) helped introduce the Protecting American Consumers from Robocalls Act, a bill that would help end the plague of illegal robocalls in America on Tuesday. 

Robocalls have become a widespread annoyance, and additionally cost consumers billions of dollars. Durbin said that in 2016, 22 million Americans lost more than $9.5 billion to robocall scams that mainly target the most vulnerable in society, like senior citizens, immigrants and people living with disabilities. 

“Like millions of Americans, I’ve experienced the nuisance of constant robocalls. This is out of control and it’s up to Congress to do something about it,” Durbin said. “Consumers don’t deserve to be preyed upon by scammers that are just trying to undermine someone’s personal privacy and financial information. It’s time to put an end to this.”

The bill would enhance the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 and the Do-Not-Call Registry by giving landline and cellular consumers alike the ability to petition for statutory damages for all unconsented-to telemarketing calls immediately after the first violation of the TCPA.  

“Fraudulent robocall scams are not just annoying, they also take billions of dollars from vulnerable Americans, like seniors, immigrant communities, and those with disabilities,” Duckworth said. “That’s why I’m proud to support Sen. Durbin’s legislation that will empower consumers and give Illinoisans the resources they need to go after abusive robocallers.”

In March 2019, YouMail estimated that Illinois residents received more than 183 million robocalls, which equates to more than 68 robocalls per second. The bill is supported by the National Consumer Law Center, Consumer Action, and the Consumer Federation of America.

Durbin and Duckworth joined Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN).

The full bill can be found here.

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