Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Caller ID Spoofing

Caller ID allows you to identify a caller before you answer your phone. A caller's number and/or name are displayed. Some phone and cable companies even offer widgets that allow you to see caller ID displayed on your TV or computer screen. Unfortunately, this service is susceptible to fraud. Using a practice called "caller ID spoofing", callers can deliberately falsify the telephone number and/or name displayed in order to disguise their true identity.

FCC rules on Caller ID Spoofing
Under the Truth in Caller ID Act, FCC rules:
  • Prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading for inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.
  • Subject violators to a penalty of up to $10,000 for each violation of the rules.
  • Exempt authorized activities of law enforcement agencies in situations where courts have authorized caller ID manipulation to occur.

What are the rules regarding Caller ID for telemarketers?
FCC rules specifically require that a telemarketer must:
  • Transmit or display its telephone number or the telephone number of the seller on whose behalf the telemarketer is calling, and, if possible, its name or the name and telephone number of the company for which it is selling products or services.
  • Display a telephone number that you can call during regular business hours to ask to no longer be called. This rule applies even to companies that already have an established business relationship with you.

What other tips can the FCC give consumers?
  • Don't give out personal information in response to an incoming call. Identity thieves are clever - they often pose as representatives of banks, credit card companies, creditors, or government agencies to get people to reveal their account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords, and other identifying information.
  • If you get an inquiry from a company or government agency seeking personal information, don't provide it. Instead, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website, to find out if the entity that supposedly called you actually needs the requested information from you.

What are the rules for blocking and unblocking your telephone number?
The FCC's Caller ID rules protect the privacy of the person calling by requiring telephone companies to make available free, simple and uniform per-line blocking and unblocking procedures. These rules give you the choice of delivering or blocking your telephone number for any interstate (between states) calls that you make. (The FCC does not regulate blocking and unblocking of in-state calls.)

What can I do if I suspect a violation of Caller ID rules?
If you have caller ID and receive a call from the telemarketer without the required caller ID information, if you suspect that Caller ID has been falsified, or if you think the rules for protecting the privacy of your telephone number have been violated, you can file a complaint with the FCC.

How do I file a complaint with the FCC?
You have multiple options to choose from to file a complaint with the FCC.
  • File a complaint at this link: FCC Complaint Form
  • Call 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)
  • By mail:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

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