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Talk of the Bay

No more caller ID spoofing, state says

Published June 19, 2006

It's a slippery little trick, sometimes used by tele- marketers to get homeowners to answer the phone. It goes by the innocuous name "ID spoofing."

It's a technology that allows someone to change the name or telephone number that appears on caller ID and, in some cases, even allows a caller to change their voice, say from an adult's to a child's.

Gov. Jeb Bush recently signed a measure that forbids telemarketers from using the controversial technology.

Police, private investigators and collection agencies have long used it, but until recent years, it wasn't widely available.

"This is just one more use of modern technology to take advantage of consumers by hiding one's identity to scam them or get access to consumers who otherwise might not answer the phone," Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson said in a statement last week. "There is no legitimate reason for a telemarketer to use this service."

Violators of the law face a fine of up to $10,000 per incident.

Bronson has some unusual advice for anyone getting a call from a company that appears on their caller ID that they don't recognize.

If you somehow pick up the phone, hang up, he says, and look the company up in the phone book. Then call it back to make sure you're talking to someone legitimate.

It gives reaching out to touch someone an altogether different meaning.

[Last modified June 19, 2006, 06:22:53]

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