Officials take charge to combat phone scams on elderly

VIDEO: Hearing on phone scams for the...

Pennsylvania lawmakers took action Wednesday to protect the state's seniors and consumers from robocalls disguised to hide where they come from.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey first advocated for the move in July, when they and other officials asked the FCC to allow phone service providers to block robocalls that originate as invalid numbers.

Wednesday, Shapiro and Casey said they sent a letter to the FCC, asking them to "implement their rule without further delay.

"It has been nearly eight months since the FCC first proposed this rule," Shapiro said. "During that time, it is likely that 19 billion calls have been placed using robocalling technology. We need the FCC to help us put a stop to these harassing and predatory calls. This is a top priority for my office."

Shapiro testified Wednesday before the Senate Special Committee on Aging on "steps that his office is taking to protect seniors from financial predators and help them learn how to avoid scams. America has 47 million seniors; 2.2 million of them are Pennsylvanians."

The hearing examined ways to reduce illegal robocalls and enforce harsher penalties on people who target seniors in telephone scams. 

"We're working every day to protect Pennsylvania's seniors and consumers from scams – from these robocalls and a wide variety of other scams," Shapiro said. "Education and outreach helps with prevention, but we also need the FCC to act, so we can get these spoofed calls, intended to trick and mislead Pennsylvanians, blocked and shut down for good."

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