Albany, N.Y. — Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for harsher punishments for telemarketers that violate federal "Do Not Call" rules.
Presently, the federal rules ban companies from using machines that automatically dial numbers and play pre-recorded marketing calls without written permission from the recipient. But Schumer said Sunday that the number of these robo-calls has skyrocketed despite the rule.
Schumer attributes the spike to insufficient penalties for violators.
He's proposing legislation that would make the use of automated dialing machines a felony subject to penalties of 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines per call. Now it's a misdemeanor punishable by a small fine and no jail time.
Schumer is also calling on federal regulators and phone companies to develop technology to identify illegal robo-calls before they get to consumers.