ARLINGTON, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - It's a familiar sound for almost all of us — the ominous ring from an unknown number, better known as those sneaky spam calls!
Most people FOX 5 talked to Friday say they usually don’t answer these robocalls, but ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away. So after enough complaints from friends, family and constituents, State Senator Dick Black took action.
The “Virginia Telephone Privacy Protection Act" Black authored, has now officially been signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam.
The new law goes into effect July 1, making it illegal to call numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.
“I would hope that once lawsuits start to be filed under this, it would have an immediate dampening effect on it,” said Black.
But it's no small task. In 2017, the FCC received 4.5 million complaints about telemarketers.
“It makes up 60 percent of all the complaints to the agency, so it's a huge problem,” said Black.
Instead of going after those telemarketers, which are often overseas hiding behind fraudulent phone numbers, this law targets the business here trying to sell the product or service, allowing consumers to sue for $500 to $1,500 per call.
Of course, to file a lawsuit, you must be on Do Not Call Registry, and the call must be from a business, not a charity or political campaign because those have first amendment protections.
“I’m not looking to put businesses out of business, or businessmen in jail,” said Black. “I'm looking to stop the robocalls, and that's what we hope to do.”