PHILADELPHIA (CBS)— If you have a cell phone, you know robocalls are getting out of hand. New numbers show Americans are getting more robocalls than ever before and lawmakers are taking actions to go after the unwanted callers.
Americans received so many robocalls last month it amounted to almost 2,000 calls a second. That is a total of 5.23 billion and nearly half of them are scams according to Youmail.
“It’s an annoyance, an invasion of privacy and it costs people money,” said Margot Saunders from the National Consumer Law Center.
Saunders testified about the issue before lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado shared his own story of frustration, proving that not even congressional offices are immune to the irritating calls.
“These criminals are taunting us because they think we can’t act,” said Gardner.
A bipartisan bill called the Traced Act would increase the penalty for robocalls to up to $10,000 per illegal call. It will also require phone companies to implement a caller ID authentication system that verifies if a number is legitimate.
The legislation also aims to boost the partnership between federal agencies and state attorney general offices nationwide to pursue civil or even criminal prosecution.
“The best way to prevent illegal robocalls is to stop them from ever being made, and the best way to ensure that is to put people who are making them behind bars,” said Kevin Rupy, US Telecom’s representative.
For now, experts suggest using your caller ID to block specific types of calls or downloading apps that will do the work of blocking for you.