Final Legislative Approval Granted To Turner Measure To Curb Telemarketer Deception

TRENTON – The Senate gave unanimous approval to legislation today sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner that would prohibit telemarketers from using technology to disguise their identity.

“New Jersey has been a national leader in empowering residents with ‘Do Not Call’ legislation,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “The telemarketing industry has responded to the law by developing caller ID spoofing equipment that circumvents provisions that make it illegal to deceive residents by blocking caller ID boxes. This practice violates the spirit of the law and now it will violate the letter of the law.”

Senator Turner’s bill, S-1999, would amend the New Jersey “Do Not Call” legislation to make it an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act for telephone “sellers” to misidentify themselves to customers or to use any method, including per-call blocking or per-line blocking, that would prevent caller identification information from being shown or displayed on caller identification devices.

Violators of the legislation are subject to the penalties set forth in the Consumer Fraud Act, which requires a monetary penalty of not more than $10,000 for the first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense. Violators would also be subject to treble damages and costs of suit.

“Our residents expect that by signing up for the ‘Do Not Call’ list, they should never have to worry about telemarketers again. It’s a reasonable expectation that requires the State to regularly adapt the law to address new technologies and schemes developed by the telemarketers,” added Senator Turner.

The bill would be effective seven months following enactment. It was approved by the Assembly in June by a vote of 77-0 and now goes to Governor Codey for his signature.

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