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Telemarketers Use Caller ID Spoofing To Pitch Products

By Diana Perez, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – All those telemarketing phone calls can be an annoying interruption in the middle of dinner or during your favorite TV show.

And the phone may start ringing even if you have signed up for the Do Not Call Registry.

Its especially frustrating to Lindee Rochelle who still gets unwanted calls at her home office.

Rochelle says “You’re prepared for a business call and when you get something like that it’s just like you were interrupted for absolutely no good reason.”

Lindee checks her caller ID before picking up the phone. But she has noticed that some telemarketers are not who they appear to be.

That’s because she is a victim of Caller ID spoofing.

It happens when a caller disguises their name and phone number to make it look like they’re someone else.

Its an illegal way for deceptive telemarketers to get around the Do Not Call registry to pitch products like credit cards, mortgage help, or debt relief.

William Maxson of the Federal Trade Commission says this is a serious and growing problem, “Each month when we look at our top number of complaints for do not call violations, spoofed caller ID name and number are always at the top.”

Under the current rules telemarketers are required to display accurate caller ID  information. But when a call is spoofed, that phone number is a fake.

Other times the name of the caller is generic like “card services” or “customer service.”

And Carl Howe of Boston’s Yankee Group says the problem isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.

“The thing to not underestimate is how clever marketers can be when they are trying to get their message across,” he says.

And that will make it difficult for consumers to screen out every unwanted call.

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports

The FTC is going after companies that use spoofing to trick consumers and they want to know if you’ve been a victim.

If so, keep track of that fake phone number and file a complaint at ftccomplaintassistant.gov or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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