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Walden & Pallone: Scam robocalls are even fooling hospitals. Here’s how Congress can make that can stop.


WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) and Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) penned an NBC News THINK op-ed with Dave Summitt, chief information security officer of Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, highlighting how illegal robocalls threaten our health care system and why the bipartisan Stopping Bad Robocalls Act represents the best solution to this nationwide problem.


Scam robocalls are even fooling hospitals. Here’s how Congress can make that can stop.
By Greg Walden, Frank Pallone, and Dave Summitt

Your heart races as your cellphone on the bedside table comes alive and wakes you in the middle of the night. Through blurry eyes, you see the number flash across your screen and recognize it instantly — the cancer center where your loved one is being treated. Your anxiety rises as you answer the phone.

Only it’s a fraud. A scam robocall has been able to make it appear that the number of origin is the hospital’s, and to try to use the fear and urgency of the situation to pry sensitive personal and financial information from the unwitting person who receives the call.

Frustrated Americans are victimized daily by a wide range of scam robocalls, with this example only one of many that demonstrate why the phenomenon of call-spoofing is so harmful. And it’s not only patients and relatives who receive these fake hospital calls: The hospitals themselves do as well.

Of some 15 billion robocalls that were placed from February to April of this year (there were an estimated 47.8 billion in 2018), Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa — one of the busiest cancer hospitals in the United States — received 6,600 illegal robocalls. The calls mimicked internal Moffitt phone numbers and consumed 65 hours of hospital response time

This has to stop. And on Capitol Hill, we believe we’ve found a way to do that. The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act would force phone companies to make sure that caller ID information has been authenticated before anyone’s cellphone ever rings.

Click here to read the full op-ed online.

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