January 23, 2019

Wyden Seeks Information on Trump Shutdown Impact on Federal Protections From Robocallers and Scammers

Oregon senator also requests guidance on helping constituents affected by robocalls and scams during the shutdown

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden today joined with a dozen senators to ask federal officials how the shutdown is impeding the ability of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect American consumers from robocallers and scammers.

The letter from Wyden and other senators to the FTC comes in the wake of a report by The Washington Post that the government shutdown could cause illegal and scamming robocalls to rise dramatically because the FTC was not funded, thus unable to administer key consumer protection programs or take enforcement action against bad actors.

The letter also requested guidance from the FTC on how to assist constituents affected by robocalls and scams during the shutdown.

We are deeply concerned by the continued threat of illegal robocallers and other scammers during the ongoing government shutdown and want to work with you to make sure anyone falling victim to them during this unnecessary lapse in funding does not fall through the cracks,” the senators wrote.

“The FTC maintains a number of other important online services to prevent scams, assist consumers who have been scammed, and support the Commission’s law enforcement efforts,” they wrote. “For example, the FTC maintains the Do Not Call Registry to protect consumers from receiving unwanted commercial telemarketing calls. During this ongoing shutdown, consumers trying to add themselves to the Do Not Call Registry, either online or via telephone, encounter a message that this service is not being offered due to the lapse in funding.”

Others signing the letter are Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Edward J. Markey (MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Warner (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bob Casey (D-PA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

A PDF of today’s letter to the FTC is available here.