Proposed bill would create Telemarketing Fraud Unit
If it seems to you like you're getting more and more telemarketing calls, you're certainly not alone.
Earlier this year the Federal Communications Commission encouraged people to file formal complaints so they could crack down on rogue telemarketers, but the problem seems to be getting worse, not better.
One New Jersey lawmaker is pushing a plan - on the state level - to address the problem.
State Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May) is renewing his call to establish a telemarketing fraud unit within the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.
Van Drew said it's better to address the problem on a state level.
"When the feds are involved, it's the whole United States of America, they tend to only address the bigger, the larger issues that are nationwide, and we really want to focus in on these state issues, some of the problems we've had here," he said.
Van Drew said because of internet phone calls and robocalls "most telemarketers are acutely aware that they're not going to get prosecuted, that there really isn't much enforcement unless it's an egregious extreme.
"While it may not be the most pressing issue of our time, it's still important because it's a quality of life issue," he said.
He also said New Jerseyans, in particular, deserve a break from this.
"While you're paying your high taxes, while you're paying your high fees, while you're worried about your future, at the very least, you'd like to be left the heck alone,"
he said. "The numbers are going up, they're starting to bother us on our cell phones, the numbers are certainly going up on the landline phones as well and it's a quality of life issue."
The proposed legislation calls for a telemarketing fraud unit to focus on the following:
- Unsolicited telemarketing sales calls from unregistered telemarketers;
- Telemarketing calls made in violation of the division's no call list;
- Telemarketing calls in which the telemarketer calling does not promptly identify the person on behalf of whom the call is made or the purpose of the call;
- Telemarketing calls received between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.; and
- Telemarketing calls made using caller identification blocking methods.
The measure was approved a year and a half ago by the state Community and Urban Affairs Committee but has never been posted for a vote in the Upper House. Van Drew is vowing to make a new push to have it voted on in the coming months.