NBC 5 Responds

New Law Could Lower Amount of Robocalls Received

Consumers now have more protections against robocalls, but how long will it take before the number of annoying calls dwindle?

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act -- or “Traced Act” was designed to crack down on illegal robocallers and help consumers identify scammers more easily. The bipartisan bill was signed into law at the end of 2019.

Now, the popular idea moves on to its real test. How will it protect consumers from annoying robocalls and when can they expect to get some relief from the ringing?

The problem has reached such epidemic proportions industry experts now estimate more than 40 percent of calls are unwanted. Here are some of the ways the Traced Act is expected to combat that:  

  • The Traced Act requires phone companies to implement a number authentication system to help identify who's calling, at no extra cost to consumers
  • Gives law enforcement more time to go after bad actors, extending the statute of limitations from one year to four years
  • The new law also allows rogue robocallers to be slapped with heavy fines (up to $10,000 a call)

Bill Versen, a self-described robocall expert of Transaction Network Services, said the law is long overdue.

"There's 200 million unwanted calls every day in the United States," he said. “The average fraud is $350 a call. So if you do quick math on that that’s 350,000 a day a bad actor can be making by just getting a thousand people to answer their call.”

Is the Traced Act a step in the right direction? Versen said yes, but he's skeptical.

"I’ll be honest with you, the bad actors are always going to find a way to get around it," Versen said.

Versen is certain robocallers are already busy looking for the loopholes.

"It’s like the 'whack-a-mole' game,” Versen told NBC 5 Responds. “You hit the whack-a-mole and it pops up someplace else."

The great news? Calls will likely go down.

Not so great news? It won't be any time soon. Many smaller carriers haven't yet upgraded their software-- and the law gives them 18-months to comply.

“So it’s going to take some time – probably about two years before you actually see the full benefits of it,” he said. “The good news is the top major carriers have already started aggressively implementing the technology.”

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