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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Senate Special Committee Hearing Focuses on Continuing Efforts to Combat Illegal Robocalls

Federal Issues Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security FTC Telemarketing Sales Rule U.S. Senate State AG

Federal Issues

On October 4, the Senate Special Committee on Aging (Committee) held a hearing entitled “Still Ringing Off the Hook: An Update on Efforts to Combat Robocalls” to discuss efforts to combat illegal robocalls. Committee Chairman Susan M. Collins (R-Me.) opened the hearing by reinforcing the importance of utilizing technology not only to block robocalls but to better understand the scams that continue to impact consumers. Sen. Collins also stressed the positive impact “aggressive law enforcement” has had on these efforts.

According to a hearing-related press release issued by the FTC, the Commission received more than 3.4 million robocall complaints from consumers in 2016 and at least another 3.5 million complaints between January and August 2017. The FTC’s ongoing efforts to address these complaints include: (i) initiating enforcement actions targeting robocall violators; (ii) cooperating with law enforcement at the state, federal, and international level to develop solutions to prevent and detect calls; and (iii) as previously discussed in InfoBytes, publicly posting robocall numbers received from consumer complaints to help enable industry groups develop call-blocking solutions. The following four witnesses offered testimony on industry and state efforts to protect consumers from scams and increase education efforts.

  • Ms. Lois C. Greismann, Associate Director of the Division of Marketing Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC (testimony);
  • The Honorable Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania Attorney General (testimony);
  • Mr. Kevin Rupy, Vice President for Law and Public Policy, USTelecom (testimony); and
  • Ms. Genie Barton, President, BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust (testimony).
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