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Sen. Claire McCaskill: Robocall environment is a "criminal sandbox"

6:38 PM, Jul 10, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (KSDK) - The current robocall environment is a "criminal sandbox," U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill said Wednesday.

According to McCaskill's office, the senator chaired a Senate hearing Wednesday, 10 years after the establishment of the Do Not Call Registry, to examine how fraudulent robocalls are harming consumers and what new preventative measures can stop these types of scams.

McCaskill used the hearing to call on U.S. telephone providers to explore implementing technological solutions to reduce robocalls received by consumers.

"Robocallers have the technology to place massive amounts of calls, with a great potential - this is a criminal sandbox," said McCaskill, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. "The fraudsters shouldn't be the only ones taking advantage of advances in technology; we should also be using it to stop them."

The senator's office said McCaskill called on representatives of domestic phone companies to evaluate the feasibility of implementing technology to help filter fraudulent robocalls and report back to her within three months.

Federal officials, representatives of the telecom industry, as well as individuals representing potential technological solutions to robocalls testified at the hearing.

Among those offering solutions was Aaron Foss, a Freelance Software Developer for Nomorobo, who discussed his concept, which functions similarly to an email "spam folder."

According to McCaskill, robocalls by far make up the largest amount of complaints to the Missouri Attorney General's office, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The FTC receives over 200,000 complaints about robocalls per month, constituting the single largest type of complaint in terms of raw numbers, said the senator. The FCC, meanwhile, has seen complaints about robocalls double between 2010 and 2012.

McCaskill said the Justice Department has estimated that consumers lose over $40 billion a year to fraudulent telemarketers in general.

McCaskill also believes consumers should have the option to "opt-out" of political and charitable robocalls, and should have full control over what types of automated calls-if any-they are receiving.

You can report a scam through Sen. McCaskill's website.

KSDK

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