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Sen. Schumer Pushes Bill to Provide Relief From "Robocalls"

Scott Willis

Most Central New Yorkers have probably been plagued by robocalls like this:

"The reason you have received this phone call from our department is to inform you that we just suspended your social security number because we found some suspicious activity.  So, if you want to know about his case just press one now.  Thank you."

That robocall came in to WAER News Producer Scott Willis from Ballston Spa, NY.  Senator Chuck Schumer says in the past four months, Syracuse-area residents have received 60 million robocalls. He says spammers have developed technology to call in mass amounts and trick residents.

"They found was to spoof the calls...hide the numbers.  So you could be calling from Albania or Taiwan, but the number that shows up on your phone could be a 315 area code."  

So, to combat the calls, Schumer is pushing bi-partisan legislation called the TRACED Act. If passed, it would increase the fine per call, raise the statute of limitations, and he says most importantly, require common carriers to prevent the calls.

"Our Verizons, our AT&T's have a way to stop these calls.  They have the technology to trace them to the very caller who's actually doing this.  Instead of seeing the 315 area code, you'd see the number."

Retired Teacher Johnnie Jones says he looks forward to some relief.

"Between our landline and our cellphones, we probably average 5 to 10 of those calls per day.  Even if we don't answer, they're still a disruption.  They ring, they ring."

People are advised to ignore calls from numbers they don’t know and to report the numbers to the Better Business Bureau scam tracker on their website.

Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
Sen. Schumer says nearly everyone with a landline, smart phone, or even a flip phone like his has been a victim of a robocall. He held a press conference in front of the federal building in Syracuse.