Will new Virginia law fighting spam calls actually work?

RICHMOND, Va. -- It's the phone call many of us dread -- the daily random spam calls that blow up your phone.

But  new legislation in Virginia's General Assembly could soon help combat the calls.

"Just give law enforcement another tool in their toolbox to be able to go after scammers," Del. Emily Brewer (R - Prince George) said.

Del. Brewer introduced the legislation which passed both the House and Senate.

“I think this is something we’ve really always talked about and so I wanted to make sure we put that into a bill and put it out there because we really need to ward of these scammers from going after people," said Del. Brewer.

Nearly half the calls made to US cell phones in 2019 will be spam, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Del. Brewer said her bill allows people to report the incoming call number to law enforcement where they will decide if there is need track down that number.

“So basically what this will do is make it a class 3 misdemeanor to intimidate, defraud or harass. It has to meet those criteria," Del. Brewer said.

But not everyone in Virginia thinks it will work.

Sam Cook, a tech journalist out of Charlottesville, believes there are still missing elements.

"It’s missing two key components that’s actually going to help it address anything," said Cook. "First it doesn’t have any technological solutions to what the issue is.”

He also believes the bill is so broad that it outlaws any VOIP usage such as third party apps. While he doesn’t believe it will work, he and Del. Brewer both hope it can get solved.

“This is the first step in the right direction to empower law enforcement and localities to really go after these people," she said.

The bill will head to Governor Northams desk next. If approved, it will take effect July 1, 2019.

 

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