Carlucci’s Column: Fighting to End Robocalls

BY STATE SENATOR DAVID CARLUCCI

The number of robocalls people receive is staggering. According to the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), robocalls have increased about 285 percent since September of 2015.

Even worse the NCLC estimates last year in New York State alone, there were more than 1.92 billion robocalls, placing them 5th in the nation for total calls.

Robo calls not only disturb us when we are at work or with family, but can be intrusive, even harassing, and compromise our privacy.  Under federal law, if you are on the ‘Do Not Call Registry’ list then legitimate companies are not suppose to call you.

The law makes it illegal for companies to use robocalls to sell you something without your written consent. The problem with the federal law is that it cannot protect you against bad actors who may target consumers with deceptive calls.

In New York State we will not tolerate companies and bad actors who call our phones with prerecorded messages designed to scam us and obtain our personal information. This is why I support Sen. Brad Hoylman’s legislation, which will prohibit robocalls to our cell and land line phones without a consumer’s consent and better protect New Yorkers.

This legislation will put another layer in place, addressing in writing that consumers can take legal action against companies who illegally target them. The legislation also allows a person to change their mind and opt to end these calls by any reasonable means.

Lastly, it stands up to bad actors by requiring phone companies offer their customers ways to block or divert robocalls at no cost to them. People lose millions of dollars in robocall scams, and often they are designed to steal a person’s personal information and carry out identity theft.

This is why the ability and ease to block scammers in our state is so important.

Lawmakers need to take immediate action on this issue and make sure New Yorkers have the legal protections and free tools to help prevent unwanted robocalls.