Measure seeks to combat robo-calls

Seeking to place stricter consequences on those behind the bothersome barrage of robo-calls that keep cell phones ringing around the clock, Senator Sue Rezin, along with other Senate Republican lawmakers, are calling for legislative action on Senate Bill 2573 that aims to address the growing problem of robo-calls throughout the state.

The legislation makes it easier for the Attorney General to crack down on those who violate the Illinois Automated Dialers Act by making the act of “spoofing,” where callers disguise their real number by showing up as a different number from the recipient’s caller ID system, a separate violation.

Senate Bill 2573 also requires prior written consent before callers can use an auto-dialer to initiate a telemarketing call. Both of these changes would align Illinois law with federal law, and would also make the unlawful practices subject to enforcement by the Attorney General.

Supporters note that while many robo-calls are simply bothersome, the low cost of auto-dialers allows criminals to easily afford mass phone calls, making it easier than ever to advance fraudulent and deceptive practices.

Estimates place the number of robo-calls per month at 2.4 billion in 2016—that’s up 1.5 billion from 2015. The increase is largely due to Internet-powered phone systems that have made it cheaper and easier to place these calls from anywhere in the world. In October, the Federal Communications Commission reported that telemarketing calls were the number one consumer complaint.

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