The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today took another action in another attempt to stem the continuing proliferation of illegal robocalls. The regulator will no longer warn most illegal robocallers before issuing penalties for violating the law.

The warnings to robocallers were required by law until the TRACED Act was enacted in December 2019.

Additionally, prior to the TRACED Act, any fine the Commission proposed for TCPA violations by robocallers could be based on violations that occurred only after the warning had been issued, though the use of spoofing to scam consumers was exempt from this requirement.

FCC Warn Illegal Robocallers
Today’s action also extends the statute of limitations during which robocallers can be fined for TCPA and spoofing violations. Previously, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau had either one or two years, respectively, from the day a violation took place to propose a fine, and only the violations that took place within that timeframe could be included when calculating the proposed forfeiture. Under today’s change, the FCC has four years to propose a fine for spoofing and intentional robocall violations. The ruling also increases the maximum fines for intentional robocall violations.

“Robocall scam operators don’t need a warning these days to know what they are doing is illegal, and this FCC has long disliked the statutory requirement to grant them mulligans,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, in a prepared statement. “We have taken unprecedented action against spoofing violations in recent years and removing this outdated ‘warning’ requirement will help us speed up enforcement to protect consumers. With strong enforcement and policy changes like mandating STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication and authorizing robocall blocking, we are making real progress in our fight against fraudsters.”

The FCC action comes shortly after the commission adopted new rules requiring the implementation of caller ID authentication using technical standards known as “STIR/SHAKEN,” which are designed to further the FCC’s efforts to protect consumers against malicious caller ID “spoofing,” often used during robocall scam campaigns to trick consumers into answering their phones.

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