Illinois State Senator Dave Syverson (R) is putting forth legislation to combat scam and robocalls that keep cell phones ringing around the clock.

It’s estimated that the number of robocalls per month were 2.4 billion in 2016, up from 1.5 billion in 2015. The increase is due to the use of computer-based phone systems that make it cheaper to place calls from anywhere in the world.

“These calls aren’t part of any upstanding sales methods, they are a form of harassment,” said Syverson. “We need to empower state government to effectively combat this growing problem.”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reported in October that telemarketing calls were the number one consumer complaint.

Many of the calls involve scams, including a recent one in which callers pretended to be from the IRS. The caller claimed that the person answering the phone owed back taxes and threatened legal action. That scheme cost its victims $54 million, according to the FCC.

“Because of the low cost of the auto-dialers, callers can afford to make thousands of calls even if only a small percentage of people ever take their bait,” said Syverson. “If the robo-calls weren’t profitable to the scammers, they wouldn’t’t be doing them.”

Senate Bill 2573 would strengthen the Illinois Automated Dialers Act by making “spoofing,” or disguising a phone’s caller ID information, a separate violation. The bill also requires prior consent before callers can use an auto-dialer to make telemarketing calls.

“This bill would give the same tools to our Attorney General and state law enforcement that the federal government has,” said Syverson.

Senate Resolution 59 would create a task force to propose penalties for violation of the Do Not Call List and call spoofing.