If one thinks that the rise of e-mail and the ease of spam has drawn all the mutts, skels and bottom-feeding marketers and clients from telemarketing, think again.
The trick du jour is spoofing phone numbers to make CallerID-savvy consumers and businesses think the callers are not telemarketers or are from other and reputable companies so that they will pick up the lines. Only to get a nasty surprise.
These lowlifes' strategies are to push their trickery, profiting from them until the inevitable crackdown. Only in this Internet age that window is shutting down real fast. Hopefully it will snap hard on these characters' fingers.
The AP reports, carried on WDAM, that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour signed an anti-spoofing law earlier this month. The law, which takes effect July 1, is being driven by do-not-call violations, with as many as 200 complaints to the state Public Service Commission "believed to be linked to spoofing."
Federal lawmakers should act real fast and amend the TCPA and the TSR to outlaw spoofing. The same goes for their Canadian counterparts on that country's laws; these scamsters respect no borders. And while they are at it, they should create and require publicizing a searchable database of these characters--including those located offshore outside both countries--so that the public can inflict the ultimate punishment: not doing business with them. The ATA, ATSI and the DMA and in Canada, CAM-X and the CMA can back this up by pressing for and cheering such bills and promising to throw such offenders off their membership lists.
The reputation of telemarketing has been improving thanks to lawmaker crackdowns and belated but welcome self-regulatory actions by industry trade groups. That is why swift action is needed and welcome on spoofing.