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The National Association of Attorneys General estimates that although 5,000,000 Americans are defrauded by telemarketers every year, only one of five of them report the fraud, usually because they are too embarrassed.

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Caller ID Information
What is Caller ID?

Caller Identification or "Caller ID" acts like an electronic peephole. It allows a person receiving a phone call to see who is calling before answering the phone. A caller’s number and/or name is displayed either on your phone (if your phone has this feature) or on a display unit that you must buy separately. The number and/or name will appear on the display unit or on your phone after the first ring. As the caller, this service lets you identify yourself to the person you are calling.

Caller ID is an optional service offered by telephone companies for an additional monthly fee. (Fees vary by phone company.) You can call your local telephone service provider to find out what this fee is or to obtain additional information about Caller ID. Since the time that Caller ID was first made available, it has been expanded to offer Caller ID on Call Waiting (CIDCW) as well. With CIDCW the call waiting tone is heard and the identification of the second call is seen on the display unit.

Blocking and Unblocking

The FCC’s national Caller ID rules protect the privacy of the person called and the person calling by requiring telephone companies to make available free, simple, and uniform per-line blocking and unblocking processes. These rules give a caller the choice of delivering or blocking their telephone number for any interstate (between states) call they make. (The FCC does not regulate intrastate calls.)

Per-call blocking – To block your phone number and name from appearing on a recipient’s Caller ID unit on a single phone call, dial *-6-7 before dialing the phone number. Your number will not be sent to the other party. You must redial *-6-7 each time you place a new call.

Per-line blocking – Some states allow customers to select per-line blocking. With this option, your telephone number will be blocked for every call you make on a specific line – unless you use the per-line unblocking option. If you want your number to be transmitted to the called party, dial *-8-2 before you dial the number you are calling. You must re-dial *-8-2 each time you place a call.

800 number/toll-free calls – Simply requesting privacy when you call 800, 888, 877 and 866 numbers may or may not prevent the display of your telephone number. When you dial a toll-free number, the party you are calling pays for the call. The called party is able to identify your telephone number using a telephone network technology called Automatic Number Identification. FCC rules limit parties that own toll-free numbers from distributing and using this information, and require phone companies to inform customers that their telephone numbers are being transmitted to toll-free numbers in this way.

Emergency services – Calls to emergency lines are exempted from federal Caller ID rules. State rules and policies govern carriers’ obligations to honor caller privacy requests to emergency numbers.

Blocking the caller’s name – Some Caller ID services also transmit the name of the calling party. The FCC’s Caller ID rules require that when a caller requests his/her number be concealed, a carrier may not reveal the caller’s name, either.

Caller ID Quick Tips

Look before you dial:

  • To block your telephone number for any call, dial *-6-7 before dialing the telephone number.
  • To unblock your number for any call (if you have a blocked line), dial *-8-2 before dialing the telephone number.

To learn more about Caller ID or the availability of this service in your area, contact your local telephone company or your state public utility commission. (reprint from FCC)
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Caller ID Links:
Compliance on the Line: Telemarketers to Start Transmitting Caller ID Information

Beginning January 29, 2004, telemarketers must transmit Caller ID information in order to comply with the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).Beginning January 29, 2004, telemarketers must transmit Caller ID information in order to comply with the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). This information will help consumers choose which sales calls they want to take.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, amended the TSR by creating the National Do Not Call Registry. The registry protects consumers' privacy by giving them a choice about whether they want to receive most telemarketing calls.

Telemarketers are required to transmit their telephone number, and if possible, their name, to consumers' Caller ID services. While it is technologically possible to transmit callers' numbers nearly everywhere, transmitting callers' names may not be available everywhere yet.

To comply with this requirement, a telemarketer may:

  • transmit its own number and, where available, its own name, to consumers' Caller ID services,
  • or substitute the name of the seller (or charitable organization) on whose behalf it is calling, and the seller's (or charitable organization's) customer (or donor) service telephone number, which is answered during regular business hours.

The FTC acknowledges that some situations may arise when a consumer who subscribes to a Caller ID service does not receive a telemarketer's transmission of Caller ID information, even though the telemarketer has arranged to transmit the information in every call. For example, that can happen if the Caller ID information is dropped somewhere between the telemarketer's call center and the consumer's telephone.

The FTC says that telemarketers who can show that they took all available steps to ensure the transmission of Caller ID information in every call will not be held liable for isolated instances when the Caller ID information fails to make it to the consumer's receiver. However, a telemarketer's use of calling equipment that can't transmit Caller ID information is no excuse for failure to transmit the required information.

According to the FTC, information transmitted through Caller ID can facilitate the filing of complaints if consumers suspect a caller is violating the National Do Not Call Registry. A consumer whose number has been on the Registry for at least three months must know the date of the call, and either the name or the telephone number of the company that called. Consumers who have signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry can file a do not call complaint at www.donotcall.gov or by phone at 1-888-382-1222.

Information about the Federal Communications Commission's telemarketing regulations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, including provisions governing the transmission of Caller ID (47 C.F.R. § 64.1200), is available at www.fcc.gov. (reprint from FTC)


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