Tag Archives: Caller ID

Affordable Care Act calls may be attempt to steal your identity

Prescription medicationsThe final details are being put together for the health insurance exchanges that will start next January. The applications have been released, and processing of them will begin in October. Already, the Better Business Bureau says scammers are trying to use the program to steal your personal information. 

The BBB says the callers are claiming to be from the federal government. Consumers are told they’ve been selected to be a part of the initial group of Americans who receive insurance cards through the Affordable Care Act. Before you can get the card, you need to provide your bank account information and social security number.

socialSharing personal information with an illegitimate source puts you at risk for identity theft. You should always initiate the call before providing such sensitive information. You should always question the legitimacy of any organization who calls you requesting that information. Instead of giving the information, ask for a call back number. Research the company and call it back.

If you did your research, you’d realize the application process doesn’t even start until October. 

Scammers are slick, and you need to be careful even with caller ID. There are ways to spoof a caller ID number to legitimize a fraudulent call. So, the thieves could prompt a government number to show up on your caller ID. That doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. 

Be careful who you tell what, as these ripoffs will only increase as we get closer to this new insurance program. 

FTC takes action to protect Do Not Call list numbers — will “Rachel” from cardholder services stop calling?

“Hello, this is Rachel at Cardholder Services.” Even though it’s an automated message, so many people feel like they know Rachel because she’s called so many times.  Most people don’t want to get to know Rachel. They want her to stop calling, and the Federal Trade Commission says it’s taking action to make sure her robocalls stop.

The FTC said more than two billion calls were made promoting a variety of products including extended auto warranties and credit card interest rate reduction plans. Under a settlement, the FTC said SBN Peripherals which did business as Asia Pacific Telecom, Inc. will give up $3 million in assets. Plus, the FTC said the company will be banned from telemarketing.

The FTC said most consumers had no idea who was calling because the caller ID simply said “SALES DEPT” and displayed offshore numbers. The FTC said the prerecorded calls were made to numbers on the Do Not Call list.

The credit calls often told you to to press one to speak with an agent to lower your credit card interest rate. In one recording the FTC supplied, the message said it’s urgent you call concerning your eligibility. The FTC said 12.8 million people were actually connected to an agent.

Logo for the United States National Do Not Cal...

Enforcement slow
One of the messages the FTC provided was from “Rachel” at cardholder services. Another caller used another name. It’s unknown if this is the only “Rachel” as lots of people say they’ve heard from a “Rachel.’

The problem is these companies are a dime a dozen. Who knows if the Rachel who called me is the Rachel that was part of this operation. It takes years to take down the companies behind the robocalls leaving consumers frustrated for years. It’s good to see the FTC cracking down, but a NewsChannel 5 investigation recently found few complaints are filed in comparison to the number of complaints filed.

The FTC gets thousands of complaints a day about possible violations of the Do Not Call list. They’ve taken action against fewer than 100 companies despite more than 8 million complaints.

New laws
New robocall rules are also being implemented that close some of the loopholes. A business now needs your written permission before they can call you with prerecorded telemarketing message.

You can refuse the permission in written form or by following a prompt on the voice message which often involves hitting a number on your phone’s keypad. You will be given directions at the beginning of the call telling you how to opt out.

Informational calls are still allowed like one from the airline letting you know your flight is cancelled or a reminder about an appointment or prescription refill. Debt collectors are also allowed to call.

If your name is on the Do Not Call list, hopefully another “Rachel” won’t be calling you soon. Click here to make sure your number is registered.

Related stories you may like:
Cell phone numbers are not going public
Do Not Call list complaints rise

FCC cracks down on spoofing: faking caller ID

Caller ID is a great service that allows you to talk when you want and let voicemail go to work when you don’t have time to talk. It makes you wonder how we lived without it.

Next time you see someone calling on caller ID, don’t assume it’s who the ID says it is. There is a technology called spoofing that allows you to manipulate caller ID and make it look like someone else is calling.  The problem is it’s being used for illegitimate reasons. That’s why the Truth in Caller ID Act was passed last year to prohibit ID spoofing that’s harmful or has fraudulent intent.

Spoofing is used to trick you into falling for a scheme whether it’s identity theft or something else. The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules that allow signficant fines for spoofing. The FCC can fine someone $10,000 per violation and up to $1 million for an ongoing violation.

You can still spoof a number without breaking the law, but only if it’s not harmful or for fraudulent purposes. There’s not an all out ban because domestic violence shelters or doctors may want to spoof their real number to maintain their privacy.

If you catch someone using spoofing for illegitimate reasons, report it to the FCC.

Related links you may like:
Free long distance phone calls
Cramming and slamming