By: Sam Jojola

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“Today’s news proves Congress has not their job.  Reports of 18 billion unwanted calls in 2017 by Seattle based tech company HIYA prove that.  Reportedly, over 4 million people complained last year to the federal government about robocalls.

Last month, a reported 2.7 billion robocalls were reported.  Consumer groups have complained the U.S. government is not doing enough.”

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Letter to Congress

Update

Last month, I sent correspondence to two Senators and a Congressman in California regarding the need for tougher penalties for robocallers and telemarketing fraud.  Though I have yet to receive a personal response to my letter below, I do believe other members of Congress have moved forward recently this month to introduce similar legislation that was never enacted in 2016:  https://bigislandnow.com/2018/04/18/senators-introduce-legislation-to-fight-illegal-robocalls/.

The Robocall Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2018 is the current legislation this month and the 2016 legislation that was never enacted was S. 3026 ROBOCOP Act mentioned in my letter dated March 23, 2018 to Congress below.

RoboKiller  App works for colleague who detailed positive personal experience

In late February, a colleague and major philanthropist in the wildlife world e-mailed me his following experiences with the RoboKiller App which I am passing on to readers:

“One way on minimizing these calls is using an app called RoboKiller.  It’s not free and cost $29 a year. The system has about 202,255 numbers in its database.  Any call from these numbers will be answered by a bot call from your phone without you even knowing.  The phone will not ring or vibrate. You can choose a random pre-recorded answer, or a specific one, or record your own.  If you are clever how you do it, they will take back your recording and will take them sometime to realize it. If rarely you get a call from a number not in the robocall list, you can add the number yourself, and help the community by adding a new number to the system.  You can also allow calls to come in if they were identified as spammer by mistake.”

 

Latest USA Today article reviews cell carrier and other apps to address robocalls

Readers should check out USA Today’s article on April 20th that details a series of options consumers can consider to help block robocalls with various apps, some free some not:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2018/04/20/could-we-please-love-all-things-good-stop-these-annoying-robocalls/535555002/

My letter to two Senators and a Congressman on Robocalls and telemarketing fraud

March 23, 2018

The Honorable Senator Dianne Feinstein

11111 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 915

Los Angeles, California 90025

The Honorable Senator Kamala Harris

312 N. Spring Street, Suite 1748

Los Angeles, California 90012

The Honorable Congressman Ted Lieu

5055 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 310

Los Angeles, California 90036

RE:  Robocalls, telemarketing fraud need tougher penalties and real solutions ASAP

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Dear Senator Feinstein,

I am sending this letter to you, Senator Harris and Congressman Lieu asking you all to work together to pass some positive and very tough legislation with extraordinary penalties with restitution and serious long term jail time to target the scourge of telemarketers, robocallers, phone spoofers, charity fraudsters and IRS imposters plaguing the millions of consumers in our country.

Making this happen should really be a no brainer, given that Congress acted with light speed to issues like H.J. Res 69 to eliminate the regulations that banned certain predator control hunting methods for bears, wolves and coyotes in Alaska in 2017.

I would like to believe Congress would listen to millions of consumers like they do with thousands of trophy hunters when it comes to H.J. 69 and any policy riders to weaken the Endangered Species Act or remove protections from imperiled wildlife like wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming.

As a registered independent voter I am beginning to see the light that special interest groups across the land are getting their way with Congress while millions of voters plagued by these annoying calls are still being ignored or placated with toothless legislation proven by the exponential growth of these harassing calls in 2017 and 2018.

SUMMARY

My recent article in the PPJ Gazette on February, 20, 2018 chronicles my experience and observations into the above issues continuously plaguing consumers across our country that questions why have these annoying calls increased exponentially when positive solutions have been languishing for years now: https://ppjg.me/2018/02/20/smoke-and-mirror-phone-scams/

On March, 23, 2017 a wired.com article appeared indicating that “Phone companies will soon banish robocalls.  For real this time.” Please read this article and ask what you could have done to stop these harassing calls for millions of consumers:

https://www.wired.com/2017/03/phone-companies-will-soon-no-excuse-not-blocking-robocalls/

On January 1, 2018, an article in The Verge titled “Robocalls were worse than ever in 2017”.  Please review this brief article and ask why this is still going on: https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/1/16837814/robocall-spam-phone-call-increase-2017-ftc-report

  1. 3026 ROBOCOP Act to protect consumers never enacted

On June 7, 2016, the “Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones Act (ROBOCOP) was introduced but never enacted.  This recent article on March 15th further substantiates consumer frustration at the lack of meaningful legislation to address these ongoing harassing calls:  http://www.rocklandtimes.com/2018/03/15/hello-fcc-and-ftc-can-you-hear-me-now/

This morning CBS news details 4 million complaints to federal government last year

Today’s news proves Congress has not their job.  Reports of 18 billion unwanted calls in 2017 by Seattle based tech company HIYA prove that.  Reportedly, over 4 million people complained last year to the federal government about robocalls.

Last month, a reported 2.7 billion robocalls were reported.  Consumer groups have complained the U.S. government is not doing enough.

I would like to know what you, Senator Harris and Congressman Lieu are going to do to enact tougher legislation and push the FCC and FTC to do their job ASAP.

I will post your thoughts on addressing this major issue in a future article in The PPJ Gazette.

Sincerely,

Sam Jojola

 

Final thoughts on this issue and need to refocus on wildlife legislative issues

My apologies to readers for taking so long to get this latest follow-up posting.  I was distracted by my passion of wildlife issues here and across the globe. The proposal for Wyoming’s grizzly bear hunt this fall in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, my support to California legislation for SB-1487, Iconic African Species Protection Act and the most current allegations of Facebook profiting from the illegal wildlife trade in ivory reminded me to refocus on the issues closest to my heart.

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