International enforcement agencies join forces to thwart caller identification spoofing

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, October 21, 2013 — Today, agencies from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom issued the following statement:

“As agencies responsible for enforcing do-not-call, privacy, telemarketing, consumer protection, telecommunications and other related laws, we are faced with the common challenge of caller identification spoofing. This practice, which can accentuate the harm caused by silent or nuisance calls, occurs when callers conceal their true identity by using invalid phone numbers to make calls. This causes harm to consumers by facilitating unwanted, misleading and fraudulent telemarketing activities which causes anxiety, annoyance and in some cases distress and financial losses.

Telemarketers who make sales calls to consumers in our countries have an obligation to identify themselves. Callers who use technology to spoof their caller ID with inaccurate, false or misleading information to appear on a telephone’s call display violate this requirement. A spoofed number can appear as a string of digits, such as 000-000-0000, a random number or the stolen number of a real company, person or government entity. Law enforcement experience and reports from consumers establish that caller identification spoofing is a troubling trend, particularly as it is challenging for enforcement agencies to track down the responsible parties.

Today, we are announcing that we will bring our combined resources to bear in order to tackle this problem. Coordinating through the international law enforcement network of the London Action Plan and the International Do Not Call Network, a public/private collaborative to address spam and do not call violations, we will work together in search of a solution that will address the concerns of consumers. If a solution is within our authority, we will act swiftly to put it in place. Where the assistance of the telecommunications industry is needed, we will reach out to the companies and associations in our respective countries.

Exploratory discussions will be held later this month to identify options focusing on enforcement, industry compliance and consumer education, technology and regulatory issues. We will work together to share information and target organizations responsible for spoofing.

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a collaborative effort to uncover a solution, or possibly several solutions, that will enable us to put a stop to this harmful practice and take action against those responsible.”

Cooperating agencies (order to be changed depending on the country)

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Canada

Competition Bureau Canada

Federal Trade Commission (FTC), United States

Federal Communications Commission

Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), United Kingdom

Ofcom, United Kingdom

Media contact(s)

CRTC Media Relations: 1-819-997-9403

The Competition Bureau Media Relations: 1-819-994-5945

Peter Kaplan at FTC Press Office: 202-326-2334

Justin Cole, Press Secretary, FCC: 202-418-0611

David Murphy at ICO Press Office: 0303 123 9070

Lizzi Regan at Ofcom Media and Corporate

Relations: 0207 981 3644

The CRTC

The CRTC is an administrative tribunal that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.

Resources

Key facts for consumers

Key facts for telemarketers

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