Charlie Crist

11/17/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/17/2020 12:07

DOJ Credits Crist’s Spam Calls Task Force With Cracking Down on Millions of Scam Calls

Washington, DC - U.S. Representative Charlie Crist released a statement following a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report citing Crist's Spam Calls Task Force as instrumental in the crackdown of millions of spam calls targeting the privacy and security of vulnerable Americans, especially seniors. The report details the implementation of the TRACED Act and how the new law helped fight the scourge of harmful spam calls through coordination of resources, legal action, regulatory efforts, and input from private industry.

The report credits the actions of Crist's Task Force as leading to hundreds of million fewer robocalls per month, stating:

'[Spam Calls Task Force] Working Group members have initiated enforcement actions against individuals and entities involved in perpetrating and/or facilitating massive unlawful robocall campaigns against the American public.'

The Task Force's work includes two civil action cases brought by the DOJ against fraudsters impersonating the Social Security Administration, targeting the elderly and vulnerable victims, resulting in 'hundreds of millions of robocalls fewer per month.'

'It's great to see that the Spam Calls Task Force has had such a profound impact in such a short amount of time,' said Rep. Crist. 'The onslaught of spam calls has been both an annoyance and a threat to Americans personal information and security. The Spam Calls Task Force is a simple, common sense solution that says your government works best when it works together. We should use every tool at our disposal to hold bad actors accountable and keep Pinellas families and seniors safe. I look forward to continuing to work alongside our federal partners to bring an end to this scourge.'

In addition to the support from 18 health and technology organizations, including BayCare Health System and Moffitt Cancer Center, Crist's Spam Calls Task Force has also received praise from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

'The number of robocalls has exploded. Bad actors are finding new ways to dial and disturb us every day. So every new idea to combat robocalls is worth exploring, especially when they feature creative incentives to reduce them across the board,' said Commissioner Rosenworcel. 'Kudos to Representative Crist for his innovative effort to put an end to these nuisance calls.'

Crist first introduced legislation to create the Spam Calls Task Force Act, an interagency task force to tackle the onslaught of spam calls Americans receive on a daily basis, back in January 2019. Crist's bill went on to be included in a larger package of legislation, the TRACED Act, aimed at tackling this issue and was signed into law by President Trump in January of 2020.

Currently, the interagency Task Force includes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, Homeland Security Investigations, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, and more. The working group is focused on opening lines of communication to improve coordination among the agencies, and with the private sector, to identify, investigate, prevent, and prosecute criminal robocall schemes.

At the federal level, Crist's Spam Calls Task Force has been so successful, the State Attorneys General has formed a Robocall Technologies Working Group as a multistate coalition to investigate the issue at a more local level.