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Pennsylvania AG, Senator call on FCC to help stop unlawful robocalls

[JURIST] Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Senator Bob Casey [official websites] sent a letter [text] to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] Wednesday requesting that the FCC implement rules to target and eliminate unlawful robocalls.

The FCC has previously proposed such rules in March with CG Docket No. 17-59 [text]. The letter requests that these rules be finalized and implemented immediately.

Shapiro and Casey note that these robocalls have had a particularly negative effect on the country's senior citizens. Technical support services scams, sweepstakes scams, and charitable donation scams typically target senior citizens. It is estimated that senior citizens are defrauded out of $3 billion per year through these calls. An estimated 19 billion robocalls have been made since the proposed FCC rules were released in March.

Shapiro testified [press release] on the issue at a US Senate Special Committee on Aging on Wednesday. He outlined seniors' vulnerability to scams and the impact scams have on them, IRS impersonation scams, and Pennsylvania's Do Not Call registry and unwanted robocalls. Pennsylvania's Do Not Call list exempts political campaigns, nonprofits, and any business that had a relationship with the person at any point within the previous 12 months.

Shapiro noted that senior citizens lose and average of $36,000 due to financial abuse. He also called on harsher punishments for telephone scams that target senior citizens. Pennsylvania has made efforts to increase education on the risks of these scams, including the pneumonic for scam: Sudden Contact; Act now, Money or information required.

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