WASHINGTON (CN) - The Federal Trade Commission, after seeking suggestions on how to stop telemarketers from falsifying caller ID, has decided against making any changes to the rules for now, acknowledging that better technology is needed for enforcement.
The FTC admitted that most of the 51 comments it received called for more enforcement, as telemarketers are increasingly involved in what is termed "spoofing," making the caller ID appear as someone or something else. Telemarketers are required to transmit their ID correctly when calling or they face a $16,000 fine for each day in violation.
"Both consumer and business comments noted the harm each has incurred when spoofing has caused their telephone numbers to appear on consumers' Caller ID displays, subjecting them to consumer complaints and the loss of business goodwill," the notification reads.
However, telemarketers have new technology that has made it almost impossible to identify callers who want to remain unknown. The telephone network was originally designed to transmit just the calling party's number and the name used for billing. By calling through the Internet, telemarketers can use software to mask and change the name and number seen on caller ID. Telemarketers also can now program the autodialers to falsify caller ID.
"Until future modifications to the telephone signaling system provide a more reliable authentication mechanism, prohibitions in the Caller ID provisions ... can be technically evaded. Violators using spoofed numbers and names are difficult to track down and identify, and some are based in foreign countries to further complicate law enforcement by U.S. authorities."
The FTC held an industry summit seeking help from the business world on a solution and said there is progress being made by private industry on call-filtering technology that would be able to identify fraudulent telemarketing calls.
The action is effective Dec. 5.
Subscribe to Closing Arguments
Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.