The federal government, via its National Do Not Call Registry, threatens telemarketers with civil fines, but some lawmakers say that's not enough.
New legislation being proposed would instead send the people responsible for pesky robocalls to jail in some cases, according to Houston TV station KRIV.
"Paying the fine is basically the cost of doing business, they built it into their business model," U.S. Sen. John Thune told the station. "The only way we're going to get their attention is to make these penalties really hurt."
Thune, a Republican, represents South Dakota.
The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, commonly referred to as TRACED, would make it possible to criminally charge telemarketers. Thune said the bill, which has support from all 50 state attorneys general, could be voted on in the next few weeks.
KRIV reports that Americans received 48 billion unwanted robocalls in 2018, up 60 percent from just one year earlier.