Hospitals and other private entities that contact consumers will have access to an online portal to report suspected robocall and caller ID violations to the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.
11/11/2022 12:30 P.M.
2 minute read
The Federal Communications Commission has finalized a rule under the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act to implement a streamlined process for private entities to report calls that may be unlawful and callers who are using legitimate businesses’ phone numbers.
Before publishing the rule in the Federal Register, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved an information collection associated with rules governing implementation of the TRACED Act. Therefore, amendments to the rule remove text advising that compliance was not required until OMB approval was obtained.
“A private entity is any entity other than (1) an individual natural person or (2) a public entity, (which is) any governmental organization at the [f]ederal, state, or local level,” according to the FCC. “Thus, the portal is not intended for individual consumers who already have a mechanism to submit robocall or spoofing complaints via the [c]ommission’s informal complaint process.”
Private entities may begin submitting information in the Private Entity Robocall Portal.
How Did We Get Here?
The TRACED Act directs the FCC to establish regulations to create a process that “streamlines the ways in which a private entity may voluntarily share with the Commission information relating to” a call or text message that violates prohibitions regarding robocalls or spoofing set forth in Section 227(b) and 227(e) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.
In June 2021, the FCC adopted a Report and Order to create an online portal located on the commission’s website where private entities may submit information about robocall and spoofing violations. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau will manage this portal.
The new online portal will allow such entities to alert agency investigators of concerning incidents, including robocalls like those that have been known to impact hospital’s phone lines.
The new online portal will collect information from filers, including contact information and details about the robocalls. From there, Enforcement Bureau staff may pursue investigations, work with partners like the Traceback Consortium to seek to cut off a robocall campaign, work with other federal and/or state partners, and/or work with the consumer affairs team to provide consumer protection support, according to the FCC.
Legitimate calls from financial services companies and health care providers, for example, should not be blocked. ACA International has advocated for call blocking and labeling improvements with the FCC.
Caller ID spoofing and robocalls impact legitimate callers. While this online portal will help private entities report and mitigate those issues, the FCC’s larger efforts in the work to mitigate call blocking should move forward.
ACA also continues advocacy with the FCC on immediate notifications of call blocking.
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