Turner Measure to Curb Telemarketer Deception Moves Forward

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

“When we passed the original “Do Not Call’ legislation, we made it illegal for telemarketers to deceive residents by blocking their number from caller ID boxes,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “Since that time, the telemarketing industry has developed caller ID spoofing equipment that allows them to circumvent the law. 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.

“New Jersey has among the most consumer-friendly ‘Do Not Call’ laws in the nation. In order to keep it as strong as possible, we need to constantly 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 Committee by a vote of 5-0 and now goes to the full Senate for their consideration.

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