House Ready to Vote on Florida Congressman’s Proposal Taking Aim at Spam Calls

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s, D-Fla., proposal to cut down on spam calls is headed to the House floor.

Back in January, Crist paired up with U.S. Reps. Matt Cartwright, D-Penn., Garret Graves, R-La., and the late Walter Jones, R-NC, to bring out the “Spam Calls Task Force Act” which will create a federal task force to cut down on spam calls. Crist’s office insisted these calls are a “growing problem” to people across the nation and noted that 50 percent of cell phones receive them.

The proposal would make the U.S. attorney general “work with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to convene an interagency working group with other federal and state agencies to address the following issues relating to spam calls: determine if any federal laws, regulations, or policies inhibit the enforcement of section of the Telephone Consumer Protections Act that prohibits spam/scam calls; identify existing and potential policies and programs that encourage and improve coordination among departments, agencies, and states; identify existing and potential international policies and programs; consider if additional resources would be helpful; consider if formal agreements between states and the federal government and/or foreign governments would be helpful; and consider if increased criminal penalties or fines would serve as an increased deterrent.”

Back in April, Crist reeled in some support for the bill as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and almost 20 health care and technology organizations, including BayCare Health System and the Moffitt Cancer Center, threw their support behind his proposal.

With 35 cosponsors, Crist’s proposal continues to gain steam. Florida Democrat U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Ted Deutch, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto and Frederica Wilson and Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan and Brian Mast are cosponsors.

At the end of last month, Crist was able to get his proposal rolled into U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone’s, D-NJ, “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act” which cleared the U.S. House Communications and Technology Subcommittee last month.

The proposal scored another win this week as U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the bill without opposition. After the bill cleared the committee on a 49-0 vote, Crist weighed in as the legislation heads to the House floor.

“Day and night, Americans are fighting an onslaught of spam calls that endanger their privacy and personal information. Spam calls are not just a nuisance, they are a technological tool used by bad actors to deceive and take advantage of millions of unsuspecting Americans,” said Crist on Wednesday. “I thank Chairman Pallone for his leadership on this issue, and I look forward to a House floor vote very soon to crack down on this scourge once and for all.”

 

 

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

39 COMMENTS

    • This sounds very good on the surface but…. It also sounds like a great opportunity to grow gov’t and spend taxpayer money, IE “TASK FORCE”. Every agency involved in this will tell you they are already spread too thin and will need additional personnel.
      After much investigation the solution will be legislation for some type of technological fix that will be bypassed in weeks. Part 2 will be some type of punishments IE fines that will never be imposed. Maybe I’m jaded but i am clearly skeptical.
      Here’s a simple fix off the top of my head and I am not that smart. 1) require companies to identify their company name on the phone call, not just the number. If companies start seeing their robocalling initiatives having a negative affect on their sales they will look at other options. 2) A nuisance billing law. If I get two calls per day from someone such as Medicare Plus I would be able to bill them say .50 per call. If I and 10K other people bill them $50.00 per month and the courts support their obligation to pay, this will cease pretty quickly. I’m sure there are many holes in these ideas but the brainiacs that we pay big bucks to should be able to come up with solutions that don’t require a task force, studies, investigations and complicated legislation that will not be followed through on.

  1. Thank you, Charlie! We can always count on you.
    Just last week I got scammed and had to change my bank account numbers, credit cards, and more.
    I blocked their numbers on both my cell and my landline. And they still got through. They tried to open a credit account at PayPal, but fortunately, I have a lock on them. I’ve tried to test them when I get offers only to be denied because they can’t get my credit score.
    You may want to suggest this to all Floridians.
    Thank you, so much.
    Nancy Bloomer

    • Charles T Meditz , if u get 10 calls a day you are luckey. My answering machine fills up leaving no room for important messages. To clear answering machine alone takes valuueable time. I think all spam , unwanted sales calls should be stoped, …
      If I want life ins. extended auto warnty, medical bracelet, back braces or what ever , I can find a local agent or business for it.
      Sorry to carry on about this but I am as sick of it as one can be. Yet we taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for enforcing restraints
      .

  2. Seriously, a federal task force? You can easily stop this via statute that permits the phone companies to block them, we don’t need a task force; look how well the ridiculous do not call list has worked, yet another waste of tax money implementing a bad idea in a bad way. Let the phone carriers do what they’re good at, and the best one will make eliminating spam calls a competitive advantage, forcing the others to follow, free of charge to tax payers.

  3. Thank you Charlie for all the great accomplishments and efforts, you are a truly a good man and we are very fortunate to have you!

  4. Thank you. I have also been receiving calls (supposedly from SS) my SS check will be confiscated if I do not call certain number (they left) back. I called real SS office and was told this is scam and not to call number they left. This is the crap we put up with. You are a good friend to the people

  5. Thank you, Representative Crist and the other sponsors of this urgently needed proposal. I currently have someone in a nursing home. When a call comes from there it is usually from a house phone but situations sometimes demand use of personal cell phone when a staffer needs to get in touch with me. Therefore, I feel compelled to answer any call in case it is coming from a staffer even though I do not need SS help (do not have Medicare), so not need extension of auto insurance, do not need help with my student loan (I graduated 64 years ago), etc. Go for it – any help we can get with abolishment of these calls would be tremendously appreciated.

  6. Thank you Charlie–we appreciate your efforts in that regard. The spam calls are getting worse and whats more is that when you try to tell them to take your name off their records-they just “keep talking”.

  7. As a retired REALTOR from Pinellas County, I relocatrd to Escambia County and I receive 13-15 calls per day!
    Excessively time consuming! Thank you and your TEAM members for staying on this!!!!!

  8. We are bombarded with robo phone calls. Please stop this..wish you have luck. Pinellas County on florida

  9. I am so harassed by these calls every day and every hour or two while I try to work at home . I am so sick of these calls and appreciate the fact that relief is on the way. I think these calls increase stress levels of many people. Thank you !

  10. Hi Mr. Charlie Crist,

    I’m so glad something is going to be done real soon I hope. The number I’m giving you that I want

    you and who ever else to listen and to address this. I’m going to be 70 soon and I worry about the ones
    older than me and not know that this is a scram. Please call and listen to this 213-335-6372 and
    424-281-0251 and they leave messages to call so I don’t get arrested. E.Kissel

  11. Good. Do something about it very soon. I always block those calls and keep calling back from different number.

  12. From the crack of dawn till the sun goes down its nonstop.. Then they are saying they are the IRS AND IMVGOING GO JAIL THEY HAD ME CRYING AND ANOTHER ONE THEY DO IS SOCIAL SECURITY SAYING IVE COMMITTED FRAUDULENT ACTS. HOW DO WE GET THIS TO STOP ?? I WOULD LOVE TO GE A SPOKESWOMAN FOR THIS. I DIDN’T ANSWER MY PHONE THE OTHER DAY AND IT SHOWED 17 MISSED CALLS FROM 8-10 AM.

  13. Sorry for some of the spelling it was hard to text when I couldn’t see when it got further down

  14. Thank you! Needless to say, this is a nonpartisan issue that the whole country would like to have addressed!

  15. Mr. Crist,
    Thank you for going after these people, are they buying lists from companies that have a list of donators? I thought that was already illegal to sell private information?
    If seniors find out that they are selling their private information to companies or people looking to get money from these seniors, they won’t donate to anyone anymore.
    We are sick and tired of getting these calls just at supper time, have to get up from the table to find out who that is, then they realize it’s a robo call, it’s disgusting.

    Thank you for doing this,

  16. Thank you sir for your efforts to help stop those calls once and for all.
    Irene and Elliot Glanz

  17. I am glad to see non-partisan participation in this effort, although it will be for naught. For people to be conservative and add more expense without having a way to pay is irresponsible. Maybe the shrinking middle class or per Moscow Mitch, “we can pay for it out of social security”. We will pay to have this done, so stop with the back slapping and do your job. I happen to agree with some of the comment’s on the way to handle this, but this should also be made into a Federal interstate crime to not identify yourself on a phone call intended to harass or deceive the public or to use a dialing machine to harass the public or to scam the public in any form or fashion. The phone companies and credit card companies are selling our information and the phone numbers to the scammers and they also should be held liable for damages in Federal court as this is a national issue that should have been addressed years ago. Politicians are making money off of this abuse or it would not be continuing at this time. Full disclosure of any politician with interest or benefit from any of these types of companies should be required in the National Register so the people can decide for themselves who represents their best interest. Let the people decide what the laws are instead of special interest. You will never get that to happen in Florida. Special interest rules Florida just like they rule our Congressional representatives or they would have done something a long time ago about this and I don’t care what party you are with. Too busy making money off of the insider trading at the stock market to do your job is what I see.

  18. No need to even say it. I have so many blocks on my phone, it just isn’t funny. I’m elderly, so therefore to them, I’m a goldmine, when I can hardly pay my bills. Thieves are thieves and have no conscience, period!

  19. If this bill doesn’t more teeth than the NO CALL LIST than it will not be worth the paper its written on.

  20. Can’t wait for something to be done. So annoying! Must be 10 a day! The NO CALL LIST doesn’t seem to help I would so appreciate it if you can get this passed and stopped.
    Thanks.

  21. It is about time we do something about Robo calls that are also harming some elder people and almost everyone else in the Us. There is not a day that between my company business and my personal business that I do not get calls every day. The phone company can stop these people and the FCC needs to arrest these people that are usually con men and women and just want to get your money. These calls also look like they are coming from your local area phone numbers.It also takes up every bodies time all day. What can we do as consumers to get bills approved and ENFORCED ?
    Thanks to Brian Mast also for his leadership.

  22. I have a possible solution, although it maybe fiscally and technically naive. Why can’t the phone providers charge a small fee per call as they did in the early days of cell phones? Even one cent per call would eliminate the robocallers who make thousands of calls per hour. I would be happy to pay this fee if it eliminated the bad guys.

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