Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today pressed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai on whether the Commission is doing enough to protect consumers from predatory robocalls, including ones that impersonate federal law enforcement agencies.
Merkley’s action today follows a robocall he received in recent months, purporting to be from the FBI and pushing for the recipient to “settle” an outstanding case with the “Department of Tax and Crime Investigation.”
“It is illegal to impersonate a federal officer, and more must to be done to stop these fraudulent harassing calls,” wrote Merkley in a letter to Pai. “Investigating further, it appears that the FBI has known about these robocalls since February 2017. The FBI Pittsburgh field office released a community outreach press release suggesting that the public ‘be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls.’ Nearly two years later these deceitful calls persist and continue to put Americans at risk of sharing personal identifiable information to scam artists.
“Unsolicited robocalls are far more than an inconvenience to consumers – they are targeted threats to the general public,” Merkley continued. “These calls are designed to manipulate individuals into revealing critical personal information such as their credit card and social security numbers and are increasing at an alarming rate. I request that the FCC share what it is doing to protect consumers from these fraudulent calls and to authenticate calls to unmask these callers and track down the perpetrators.”
Merkley also noted that elderly Americans are among the most vulnerable to predatory robocalls, and that robocalls impersonating federal agencies can erode trust in public institutions.
“Unsolicited calls like these endanger the financial security and right to privacy of millions of Americans, and more must be done to stop them,” Merkley concluded.