If you’ve gotten a call from a telemarketer that you only answered because you thought it was someone else, a proposal in the state House would penalize those callers for spoofing phone numbers.
House Bill 724, called the Truth In Caller ID Act, would fine telemarketers up to $5,000 for multiple violations of the law, including blocking a telephone subscriber’s caller ID service.
House Speaker Tim Moore, who introduced the bill, said the numbers telemarketers use to simulate a local call can make it look like you’re calling yourself.
“This is designed to go after someone being surreptitious at the beginning,” Moore, a Cleveland County Republican, told a House committee before it approved the bill Thursday.
Congress passed a Truth In Caller ID Act in 2009. Federal Communications Commission rules “prohibit anyone from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongly obtain anything of value.”
Federal penalties for illegal spoofing can be as much as $10,000.
Rep. Keith Kidwell, a Chocowinity Republican, asked about including text messaging in the House bill, too.
Rep. Jason Saine, a Lincolnton Republican, said it could be inferred that it includes text messaging, but lawmakers could work on the wording before taking it to the House floor for a vote.
Saine said the calls by “these rogue companies” are incredibly annoying.
Penalties would be $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second and $5,000 for any more violations within two years of the first one.
Of 20,000 consumer complaints the state attorney general’s office receives each year, up to 5,000 have been about telemarketing and do-not-call list violations, according to the attorney general’s office.