WASHINGTON—Citing illegal robocalls as a serious problem that places all Americans at risk of fraud, AARP today announced its endorsement of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would reduce abusive robocall practices.
The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (H.R. 3375) is sponsored by House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), committee ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and others. The legislation today was unanimously approved by the committee, and would next be considered by the full House.
According to an industry estimate, 25 billion robocalls have been placed nationwide so far during 2019. An AARP Fraud Watch Network survey this year found that nearly half of U.S. adults receive seven or more robocalls per week. While automated calls can serve legitimate purposes – such as medical appointment reminders or airline schedule advisories – experts say half of the calls are scams, many targeting seniors.
“AARP has a long history of fighting for protections for older Americans,” said AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond. “This bill will help reduce illegal robocalls – a rich playground for scammers to deceive victims into paying money under false pretenses.”
Under H.R. 3375, the FCC would be required to ensure that robocalls are only made with consumers’ consent. Since fraudsters disguise – or “spoof” – Caller ID systems when making many of their illegal calls, the bill also requires telephone carriers to implement technology to authenticate the information displayed on Caller ID. The AARP survey found a high consumer reliance on Caller ID: U.S. adults are more likely to answer a call that appears to originate from a local area code (59%), an area code where friends or family live (44%) or an area code and telephone exchange that matches their own (36%).
The AARP Fraud Watch Network launched in 2013 as a free resource for people of all ages. Consumers may sign up for “Watchdog Alert” emails that deliver information about scams, or call a free helpline at 877-908-3360 to report scams or get help from trained volunteers in the event someone falls victim to scammers’ tactics. The Fraud Watch Network website provides information about fraud and scams, prevention tips from experts, an interactive scam-tracking map and access to AARP’s hit podcast series, The Perfect Scam.
# # #
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.