Rezin legislation seeks to punish phone scammers

State Sen. Sue Rezin is co-sponsoring legislation that would help reduce unwanted robo-calls, the number one complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. 

“Robo-calls are annoying, frustrating, and they seem to never end,” Rezin said. “It’s time we beef up our laws on this issue to protect consumers from this unwanted practice.” 

Under Rezin’s Senate Bill 2573, robo-callers would face a separate violation if they disguise or falsify their caller ID in any way, which is commonly known as “spoofing.” In addition, Rezin’s legislation would require prior written consent before robo-callers could use auto-dialer software. The Illinois Attorney General would be given the responsibility of enforcement. 

“While most people hang up when they hear, ‘Congratulations, you’ve won a free cruise,’ the problem is, some of our more vulnerable citizens think it’s real,” Rezin said. “They are taken advantage of, getting swindled out of their money or personal information. These callers are scammers, they threaten, and they prey on people until they can hit a payday. This legislation puts more teeth into our laws, allowing the Illinois Attorney General to take action in the same way the federal government can do now.” 

According to the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. consumers received about 2.4 billion robo-calls every month in 2016. 

Rezin is also co-sponsoring other legislation (Senate Joint Resolution 59) that would create the bipartisan Illinois Automated Dialing and Solicitation Task Force. The group would be responsible for studying penalties for violating the Do Not Call List and penalties for call spoofing, and seeing what new technology is available for preventing automated calls, among other responsibilities. 

The Federal Trade Commission has this resource for consumers if they are seeking ways to block unwanted phone calls.

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