Tennessee congressman introduces ‘do not call’ bill to target robocalls

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 10:52 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Who hasn’t received one of those incredibly irritating even dangerous robocalls from someone who wants to fix your credit, help you with a student loan you never had, or just scam you out of your money?

A U.S. congressman from West Tennessee introduced a bipartisan bill to help stop those harassing calls. Kelsey Whatley says it can’t happen soon enough.

“It’s really annoying. I get calls all the time. I have to silence my phone,” said Whatley.

Mark Tate just wanted to spend the day at the zoo with his grandchildren.

“It interferes with me having the grandkids at the zoo. So, that was annoying. What happened? I had to stop,” he said.

Stop and answer his phone for one of those intrusive robocalls that don’t seem to ever stop. And you can’t tell where the call is coming from.

“These calls can be designed to make it look like they’re coming from your area, your neighborhood, your community. They can be coming from anywhere in the world, but they spoof the number,” said Congressman David Kustoff (R).

Kustoff says he even got a call to his cell phone from his own number.

He also gets calls from his constituents all the time asking for something to stop the calls. That’s is why he and Democratic Congresswoman, Deborah Ross of North Carolina, are sponsoring a bill to do just that. The Do Not Call Bill has bipartisan support. Democrats and Republicans want to put a stop to the calls that are certainly annoying, but also dangerous and scamming people out of money.

Jepaul Whatley worries about older people.

“I get them all the time and my fear is that my grandparents may fall for something like that or any elderly person,” she said.

Kustoff has the same fear. The bill gives more authority to go after the people involved in the robocalls no matter where in the world they are.

“We can send a clear signal that if you are caught, you’re going to be prosecuted and you can go to federal prison. That’s added on to the fines,” Kustoff said.

Kustoff acknowledges it is likely impossible to completely stop those robocalls. But he says each new piece of legislation and prosecution will put a big dent in the problem.

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