The Deter Obnoxious, Nefarious and Outrageous Telephone (DO NOT) Call Act (S. 1913) seeks to impose strict new penalties for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The DO NOT Call Act, introduced by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), would amend the TCPA to impose a prison term of up to one year on people who “willfully and knowingly” violate the robocalling provisions of the TCPA. The bill also contains provisions for an enhanced penalty of up to 3 years in prison for “aggravated” violations, which include violations where a person has previously been convicted under the Act; when a violation involves initiating more than 100,000 calls in a 24-hour period, 1 million calls in a 30-day period, or 10 million calls over one year; when a person makes the illegal calls with the intent to use them in furtherance of a felony or conspiracy; or when the calls cause losses to one or more persons of at least $5,000 aggregated over a one-year period. The bill also seeks to double the maximum TCPA penalties for falsifying caller ID information (“spoofing”) from $10,000 to $20,000 per violation.
In introducing the bill, Sen. Cortez Masto noted that although fraudulent or harassing robocalls are outlawed under the TCPA, they have still managed to surge nationwide for some time, and are frequently used to scam and harm the public, including vulnerable seniors. As Sen. Cortez explained, “[n]ew technology is allowing robocallers to place more calls than ever, and [this] legislation would toughen the consequences for those who profit while preying on vulnerable [Americans]. I’ll keep working in the Senate to protect Americans from deceptive practices like [these].”