Friday, March 03, 2006

How Effective is the Do Not Call Registry

Kevin Poulsen of Wired News wrote an interesting article about Caller ID spoofing. In it, he writes:

"If you've ever used one of the half-dozen websites that allow you to control the phone number that appears on someone's Caller ID display when you phone them, the U.S. government would like to know who you are."

"Last week the FCC opened an investigation into the caller-ID spoofing sites -- services that began popping up late 2004, and have since become a useful tool for private investigators, pranksters and more than a few fraud artists.

Here is the full article, with links to some of these dubious services:

FCC Probes Caller-ID Fakers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has it's National Do-Not-Call Registry, where you can register your telephone numbers, which makes it illegal for businesses to call you unsolicited.

Of course, it's still legal for businesses to call you, if you have a relationship with them. This means that you are still vulnerable to their marketing campaigns, whether you want to be, or not.

Lately, I've noticed that businesses that are allowed to call me, also spoof their numbers with caller ID logos, such as "800 services." Today, I got one that was a recorded ad for one of the clothing retailers, I shop at occasionally.

Additionally, charities are exempt from this and many charities hire third-party call centers to solicit donations for a commission. Often, if I answer, they will swear my wife made a pledge and when I ask her, she knows nothing about it. In fact, charity fraud was quite the buzz word in the recent hurricane disasters.

Let's face it, spoofing caller ID's is becoming the norm and if you don't know who called, it's going to be difficult to file a viable complaint. Making this activity legal, also provides a valuable means for criminals AND (unethical business people) to invade people's privacy and WORSE.

Here is another clear example of where laws need to catch up with technology.

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