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For those who seemingly can't go about their day without receiving numerous calls from unknown numbers — or those posing to be familiar ones — U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker is backing a measure that may help.

The Lancaster Republican is co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill that was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce Monday, April 1, to crack down on what are known as robocalls.

“Spam calling has gotten seriously out of hand,” Smucker said. “Day after day, too many Americans receive countless phone calls from suspicious numbers. Not only are these calls a nuisance but they are also dangerous since wrongdoers can prey on vulnerable people and commit crimes with their information.” 

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Americans experienced more than 26 billion robocalls in 2018, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). That's a 46 percent increase from 2017. The agency averages more than 200,000 complaints about the calls annually.

The legislation would require call identity validation and increase civil penalties for robocallers. If passed, the FCC could penalize those who don't follow telemarketing restrictions as much as $10,000 per call.

The FCC would also have a longer window to catch and penalize such callers. Instead of the current one-year limit, it would be extended to three years. 

Such legislation has been endorsed by attorneys general in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., according to Smucker's press release. The bill also has a bipartisan companion measure in the Senate with 22 co-sponsors.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.

 

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