Senator Felder is co-sponsoring legislation to combat the rampant problem of robocalls. It prohibits any person or entity from generating robocalls to any telephone number owned by a New Yorker without prior consent and requires telephone companies to provide New York consumers with free call blocking technology. During the last session, the Robocall Prevention Act (S3297) was passed in the State Senate, but was not taken up in the Assembly.
“The average person who comes home at the end of a busy workday, or mothers and caretakers who are home all day with children and family, are bombarded and literally harassed by nonstop robocalls,” said Senator Simcha Felder. “Moreover, what began as an all-to-common annoyance has devolved into a public hazard. People are being conned and victimized to the tune of millions of dollars. With a new scam every few weeks, preying on seniors and vulnerable New Yorkers now is the time to take serious action.”
Nationwide, robocalls topped over 47 billion in 2018. Consumer Reports estimates that 40 percent of robocalls are scams that generate more than $350 million in annual losses. Through April 2019, the NYPD had received over 200 complaints of losses totaling more than $2 million, up from only three similar complaints in 2018.
The Robocall Prevention Act aims to curb unwanted robocalls in New York by enacting stringent new restrictions, requirements and penalties that include:
- Requiring telephone companies make free call blocking technology available to customers
- Prohibiting fraudulent “spoofing” using disguised numbers
- Granting the State Attorney General new enforcement powers to go after scammers with harsh penalties for violators who would face fines as high as $2,000 per illegal robocall
- Giving New Yorkers the right to sue illegal robocallers
“Taken all together, this bill is the toughest action taken by any state in the nation to deal with robocalls. New Yorkers deserve nothing less,” concluded Senator Felder.