Several suburban Republican senators are calling for legislative action on a bill that would put stricter consequences on those who are behind the bothersome robo-calls and scam calls, which seem to keep cell phones ringing non-stop.
Senate Bill 2573 was announced last week, aiming to address the growing problem of robo-calls throughout the state. Several suburban lawmakers came together to co-sponsor the legislation, noting that these types of fraudulent calls are an ongoing form of harassment for many throughout the state.
The legislation strengthens the Illinois Automated Dialers Act by making the act of “spoofing,” where callers disguise their real number by showing up as a different number from the recipient’s caller ID system, a separate violation. The bill also requires prior written consent before callers can use an auto-dialer to initiate a telemarketing call. Both of these changes would align Illinois law with federal law, and would also make the unlawful practices subject to enforcement by the Attorney General.
Estimates place the number of robo-calls per month at 2.4 billion in 2016—that’s up 1.5 billion from 2015. The increase is largely due to Internet-powered phone systems that have made it cheaper and easier to place these calls from anywhere in the world. In October, the Federal Communications Commission reported that telemarketing calls were the number one consumer complaint.
“When robo-calls are done legitimately, they can be a decent tool for commerce and information, but some people have developed practices that are both deceptive and extraordinarily bothersome,” said State Sen. Tom Rooney (R-Rolling Meadows). “Senate Bill 2573 is addressing a real need in our state to crack down on a known avenue for increased fraud, placing necessary barriers between scammers and the general public.”
“The number of calls the average person receives is just outrageous and can become quite burdensome,” said State Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles). “This legislation makes it easier for the Attorney General to crack down on violators of the Illinois Automated Dialers Act. What these callers are doing is wrong and borders along the lines of harassment. I think this is a case where good government needs to step in to combat this growing problem.”
“Now, more than ever, callers are able to easily afford these mass phone calls, and the low cost of auto-dialers is allowing them to makes thousands of calls daily, putting so many people at risk of falling for their deceitful tactics,” said State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Naperville). “This is good legislation that protects Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens.”