To the Editor,

When we visit with constituents, some of the most common and persistent consumer complaints are about robocalls that we’re all bombarded with.

Robocalls are recorded messages from scam artists to unsuspecting consumers. The scammers often use automatic dialers to make large batches of calls that are designed to get consumers to provide financial or personal information.

Robocalls are on the rise, with 26 billion calls placed in the U.S. just last year. These calls are burdensome and potentially costly.

That’s why we made it a priority to address the issue by proposing a statewide legislative solution to crack down on these fraudulent calls. As we worked to implement this policy, though, we learned, a state-level solution would not be practical, as robocalling is a national problem.

We are happy to learn that many states attorneys general from across the country have joined together with the national telephone industry to protect consumers from unscrupulous scammers. In June, the Federal Communications Commission finally ruled that carriers could block robocalls for their customers by default — without requiring a customer opt in first.

Now, many of the telephone companies will be able to deliver free services that automatically block fraud calls, provide screen alerts for suspected spam calls and help protect smartphones from potential threats. These kinds of solutions are exactly what we were hoping the telephone industry would be able to deliver. The FCC also provides resources for consumers at fcc.gov/unwanted-calls.

We urge our constituents to access resources available to protect themselves from potential scams, and we continue to urge telephone companies to remain vigilant in protecting Iowans from the risks and the hassle of robocalls.

Iowa Sen. Ken Rozenboom
Iowa Rep. Dean Fisher