Cracking down on telemarketers: How you can make them pay up

Cracking down on telemarketers: How you can make them pay up WZTV

We all get the annoying calls. It looks like a number you may know but when you answer, you hear the automated voice. The government estimates telemarketers put out more than four billion robotic calls per month.

It's a problem everyone can relate to, and telemarketers are pulling out all the stops. Their latest tactic is called “spoofing.” It’s when telemarketing companies steal a number that looks like it may be someone you know in an attempt to trick you into answering.

Attorney Ben Miller with the Higgins Firm says this kind of practice is illegal.

“They are supposed to be making the number that appears on the caller ID as something that can be traced back, so they certainly aren't supposed to be trying to hide what their number is,” Miller said.

For the past year, the Federal Communication Commission, or FCC, has been putting pressure on phone companies to adopt technology standards that would protect customers from having their numbers spoofed. It's called SHAKEN/STIR Caller ID Authentication. However, the FCC tells us if the companies don't do this themselves by the end of the year, the FCC will force them.

In the meantime, Miller says there are steps you can take to make these telemarketers pay up.

“Recording conversation, recording yourself telling them you don't have permission to call me,” Miller said.

If they continue to call you, they're breaking the law and you could sue them. If you are trying to sue, you have to make sure it’s a legitimate company and not a spam caller. Spam callers are hard to track down and hold accountable.

Miller says the best advice is to just not answer any number you don’t recognize.

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