Press Release: FCC & FTC to Host Joint Policy Forum & Consumer Expo to Fight the "Scourge" of Illegal Robocalls
For Immediate Release
FCC AND FTC TO HOST JOINT POLICY FORUM AND CONSUMER EXPO TO FIGHT THE SCOURGE OF ILLEGAL ROBOCALLS
Events Will Highlight Cooperative Efforts by the Two Agencies to Combat Illegal Calls and Promote Innovative Solutions to Protect Consumers
WASHINGTON, March 7, 2018—The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission today announced two upcoming events aimed at furthering the fight against illegal robocalls and caller ID spoofing. The agencies will co-host a Policy Forum later this month and a Technology Expo in April.
Unwanted calls—including illegal robocalls, spoofed calls, and telemarketing—are a major source of complaints to both the FTC and FCC. Under FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen, the agencies have combated this consumer problem through numerous policy-making efforts and strong enforcement actions.
“Scam robocalls and deceptive spoofing are real threats to American consumers, and they are the number one consumer complaint at the FCC,” said FCC Chairman Pai. “We’re committed to confronting this problem using every tool we have. I’m pleased to announce these efforts in our continued work with the FTC to protect consumers.”
“Consumers are fed up with illegal robocalls that disturb their privacy and often pitch scams,” said Acting FTC Chairman Ohlhausen. “We’re going to expand our fight against this scourge through initiatives like the upcoming Technology Expo and Policy Forum, which amplify our impact through close coordination with the FCC and other partners.”
On March 23, the two agencies will co-host a Policy Forum at FCC headquarters to discuss the regulatory challenges posed by illegal robocalls and what the FCC and FTC are doing to both protect consumers and encourage the development of private-sector solutions. The live video feed and other information related to this event will be available at: www.fcc.gov/newsevents/events/2018/03/fighting-scourge-illegal-robocalls.
On April 23, the FCC and FTC will also co-host a Technology Expo for consumers at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery in Washington, D.C. This event will feature technologies, devices, and applications to minimize or eliminate the illegal robocalls consumers receive. The FCC and FTC have worked closely with phone companies, tech innovators, and others to find solutions for consumers to the problems of illegal robocalls and malicious spoofing. More information on this Expo, including how innovators can seek to participate, will be available at: www.fcc.gov/news-events/events/2018/04/stop-illegal-robocalls-expo.
Under Chairman Pai, the FCC proposed over $200 million in fines last year alone for apparent illegal spoofing by telemarketers in first-of-their-kind cases under the Truth in Caller ID Act. In addition, the Commission has adopted new rules to allow phone companies to block robocalls that are likely to be illegal, such as those purporting to be from non-existent numbers. The agency is also seeking public input on ways to help authenticate caller ID information and reduce unwanted calls to reassigned phone numbers.
In combating abusive and fraudulent calls through early 2018, the FTC’s enforcement actions have resulted in 134 lawsuits against 789 companies and individuals alleged to be responsible for placing billions of unwanted telemarketing calls to consumers. The FTC has been awarded judgments totaling over $1.5 billion and has collected over $121 million from these violators.