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Senator challenges telecom leaders to ‘be part of the solution' to put an end to robocall scams

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NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF U.S. SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL (MISSOURI):

McCaskill GivesTelecom Industry Deadline to Examine Technologies to Combat Robocalls
Senatorchallenges telecom leaders to ‘be part of the solution' to put an end torobocall scams

WASHINGTON – Following aSenate hearing last month, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is continuing hereffort to protect consumers from fraudulent robocalls, sending a letter to toptelecom associations asking them to evaluate the feasibility of implementingtechnology to help filter out unwanted calls and protect America's most vulnerable consumers.

"The representatives of your industries expressedskepticism regarding these technologies, raising a number of potential legal,regulatory, financial, and technological challenges," McCaskill wrote. "ByOctober 15, 2013, please provide me with a complete analysis of the challengesyour industry foresees in implementing these types of technological solutions."

McCaskill also asked the industry to comment on suggestedchanges to laws that would better equip federal regulators to crack down onrobocall scams.

McCaskill, a tech leader in the Senate and Chairman ofthe Consumer Protection Subcommittee, recentlychaired a Senate hearing to examine how fraudulent robocalls areharming consumers, and called on U.S. telephone providers to exploreimplementing technological solutions to reduce robocalls received by Americanconsumers. As McCaskill highlighted at the hearing, such technologies arealready being developed and at least one phone company in Canada already offerssuch a service free to its customers.

Although the popular Do Not Call Registry was establishedten years ago, robocalls still rank as a top consumer complaint received bygovernment agencies, comprising the largest volume of complaints to theMissouri Attorney General's office, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and theFederal Communications Commission (FCC). The FTC alone receives over 200,000complaints about robocalls per month, constituting the single largest type ofcomplaint in terms of raw numbers. The FCC, meanwhile, has seen complaintsabout robocalls double between 2010 and 2012.

TheJustice Department has estimated that consumers lose over $40 billion a year tofraudulent telemarketers.

McCaskill recently launched anonline tool that allows individuals to report scams and fraud they encounter inadvertising and sales. The"Submit Your Scam" button at www.McCaskill.senate.govallows constituents to submit personal stories and tips to help McCaskill crack down on scams and protect consumers.

Acopy of McCaskill's letter to the United States Telecom Association andCTIA-The Wireless Association, representing wireline and wireless telephoneservices providers respectively, can be found on her website, HERE.

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