WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate passed legislation backed by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to protect consumers from robocalls. The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act would protect consumers from illegal robocalls by giving regulators more time to find scammers, increasing civil penalties, promoting call authentication and blocking adoption technologies, and ensuring that consumers receive call authentication and blocking services at no cost. The bipartisan legislation led by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) also brings relevant federal agencies and state attorneys general together to address criminal prosecution of robocallers who intentionally violate the law. The bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“Robocalls doubled last year in Minnesota. Worse still, they often target seniors, who can lose their entire life savings to fraudulent cons.” Klobuchar said. “We need to protect consumers from these annoying, unwanted, and potentially fraudulent calls That’s why I have supported the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, bipartisan legislation that helps regulators find scammers, increases civil penalties, and promotes call authentication and blocking technologies. I am pleased that this legislation has passed the Senate and look forward to seeing it signed into law.”

As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect consumers from robocalls, ticket bots, unauthorized charges on their phone bills, and deceptive practices by fraudulent online travel booking websites.

In July 2019, Klobuchar introduced the bipartisan Data Analytics Robocall Technology (DART) Act with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) to direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to evaluate the most effective use of call blocking-technologies without disrupting public safety. Klobuchar also joined Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to introduce the Protection from Robocalling Act to end an exemption in the Federal Trade Commission Act that some companies have exploited to enable illegal robocalls.

In June 2019, Klobuchar joined Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NM), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to reintroduce the Deter Obnoxious, Nefarious, and Outrageous Telephone (DO NOT) Call Act to increase civil and criminal penalties for making illegal robocalls.

In April 2019, Klobuchar joined Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Tina Smith (D-MN) to introduce the Protecting American Consumers from Robocalls Act, which would enhance the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 and the Do-Not-Call Registry.

In April 2018, Klobuchar joined members of the Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet Subcommittee to introduce the Robocall Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2018. The legislation, led by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), would help the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) remove barriers that prevent the agency from pursuing those who violate robocall rules. In 2015, Klobuchar called on the FCC to implement “Do Not Disturb” technology to block telemarketing and unwanted robocalls on both landline and wireless phones.