Although she’s hardly alone, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has declared war on a group of persistent and resourceful foes: robo-callers. Last week, Moody, in concert of 53 other attorneys general, has called on Congress to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act. Unfortunately, nuisances as disruptive as robocalling don’t always yield to well-meant legislation.
The TRACED Act, proposed by a pair of U.S. senators, conservative Republican John Thune of South Dakota and liberal Democrat Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and is intended to attack two prongs of the robocalling problem, the sheer volume of the unsolicited calls and spoofing, a technique the callers use to disguise the fact that it’s a robo-call to make it more likely the call will be answered.
Robocalls, some 48 billion in 2018, are near the top of most lists of consumer complaints received by government agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications. As Moody noted in a release urging passage of the TRACED Act, “Often these robo-calls are pitching phony products, sham services or spurious sweepstakes in an effort to trick people into parting with their money.”
Here in the Sunshine State, net metering is behind many robocalls. Net metering refers to consumers earning cash or credits when the solar panels they have on their houses produce excess electricity gets sold to utilities. Net metering might be legal, but some of the people trying to convince people to buy the solar panels employ spoofing to disguise themselves by generating bogus caller IDs.
We wish Moody and the other 53 attorneys general well in their Robo War. Just don’t be surprised if the Robos prove harder to stamp out than roaches, as such folk tend to be.