New law aims to protect people from phone scams, robocalls

Apr 20, 2023, 1:24 PM


New state law aims to protect people from phone scams and robocalls. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

A new state law that limits robocalls and empowers people and the state’s Attorney General to sue companies over unwanted calls was signed by Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday.

House Bill 1051, the Robocall Spam Protection Act, was introduced by Rep. Mari Leavitt (D-University Place).

“Every time I think about this bill, I think of the countless families in my district and across the state that were threatened and scammed by these robocalls – all while the technology to prevent it existed,” said Rep. Leavitt. “Washington has an obligation to protect those most vulnerable to these scams.”

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The law includes:

The legislature finds that robocalls are increasingly used by entities to mislead and deceive Washington residents and induce them into providing personal information to wrongfully obtain something of value.

It is the intent of the legislature to expand the scope of existing provisions … regulating robocalls and telephone solicitations to prohibit abusive telephone communications that mislead or harm Washington residents.

The legislature further finds that the most effective way to prevent illegal robocalling is to ensure that those calls never originate or enter the telephone network.

Therefore, it is further the intent of the legislature to extend liability to those persons who provide substantial assistance or support in the origination and transmission of robocalls.

The law is intended to hold those who spam individuals with robocalls maliciously accountable.

The single highest number of complaints the Attorney General receives is regarding predatory and dangerous scams affecting seniors, youth, and the most financially vulnerable.

The state already has a law regarding robocalls, but HB 1051 is meant to empower individuals to take further action.

1.1 million Washingtonians lost money to robocalls in 2022 alone, based on TrueCaller survey data.

The bill will take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislative session.

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New law aims to protect people from phone scams, robocalls