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South Amboy startup attempts to block robocalls

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SOUTH AMBOY – Officials are trying to find a way to stop, or at least slow down, the unwanted spam call.

Congressman Frank Pallone (D-Middlesex, Monmouth) visited South Amboy on June 19 to introduce proposed legislation to stop unwanted robocalls. The visit took place at the headquarters of TelTech, a startup company that works to combat robocalls.

Pallone has introduced the “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act,” which will widen the definition of a robocall and strengthen enforcement provisions. The act is in part a response to a recent Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) definition of an “automatic telephone dialing system.” The ruling has made it more difficult to enforce current robocall prohibitions, according to information provided by Pallone’s office.

If the bill is passed in the House and the Senate and signed into law by the President, it will curb the rise of robocalls by:

  • Amending the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to ensure that the FCC has the authority and the tools to take strong, quick action when it tracks down robocallers;
  • Allowing consumers to revoke consent they had previously given to receive calls at any time and in any reasonable manner;
  • Creating a reassigned number database to put robocallers on notice when a telephone number they may have previously been authorized to call has been given to a new customer who has not authorized their call;
  • Limiting the number of robocalls exempted from the TCPA under the FCC’s rules;
  • Requiring calls to have verified caller identification information associated with a call before the call can be put through; and
  • Extending the statute of limitations from one year to four years for callers violating robocall prohibitions.

“There is nothing more annoying than repeatedly getting unwanted calls from people you don’t know and don’t want to talk to,” Pallone said. “Despite previous efforts like the Do Not Call Registry, robocalls are on the rise. The ‘Stopping Bad Robocalls Act’ will better restrict unauthorized robocalls by providing consumer protection agencies with new tools designed to stop the abusive practices robocallers are employing.”

According to Pallone’s office, an estimated 18 billion unwanted calls were placed in the United States last year, which represents a 76 percent increase in unwanted calls over the previous year.

South Amboy Mayor Fred Henry, City Council President Mickey Gross, Councilman Thomas Reilly and Chuck Bell of Consumers Union were in attendance.

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