The National Association of Attorneys General estimates that although
5,000,000 Americans are defrauded by telemarketers every year, only
one of five of them report the fraud, usually because they are too
Caller ID Information
Caller Identification or "Caller ID"
acts like an electronic peephole. It allows a
person receiving a phone call to see who is calling
before answering the phone. A callers number
and/or name is displayed either on your phone
(if your phone has this feature) or on a display
unit that you must buy separately. The number
and/or name will appear on the display unit or
on your phone after the first ring. As the caller,
this service lets you identify yourself to the
person you are calling.
Caller ID is an optional service offered by telephone
companies for an additional monthly fee. (Fees
vary by phone company.) You can call your local
telephone service provider to find out what this
fee is or to obtain additional information about
Caller ID. Since the time that Caller ID was first
made available, it has been expanded to offer
Caller ID on Call Waiting (CIDCW) as well. With
CIDCW the call waiting tone is heard and the identification
of the second call is seen on the display unit.
The FCCs national Caller ID rules protect
the privacy of the person called and the person
calling by requiring telephone companies to make
available free, simple, and uniform per-line blocking
and unblocking processes. These rules give a caller
the choice of delivering or blocking their telephone
number for any interstate (between states) call
they make. (The FCC does not regulate intrastate
Per-call blocking To block your phone
number and name from appearing on a recipients
Caller ID unit on a single phone call, dial *-6-7
before dialing the phone number. Your number will
not be sent to the other party. You must redial
*-6-7 each time you place a new call.
Per-line blocking Some states allow
customers to select per-line blocking. With this
option, your telephone number will be blocked for
every call you make on a specific line unless
you use the per-line unblocking option. If you want
your number to be transmitted to the called party,
dial *-8-2 before you dial the number you are calling.
You must re-dial *-8-2 each time you place a call.
800 number/toll-free calls Simply
requesting privacy when you call 800, 888, 877 and
866 numbers may or may not prevent the display of
your telephone number. When you dial a toll-free
number, the party you are calling pays for the call.
The called party is able to identify your telephone
number using a telephone network technology called
Automatic Number Identification. FCC rules limit
parties that own toll-free numbers from distributing
and using this information, and require phone companies
to inform customers that their telephone numbers
are being transmitted to toll-free numbers in this
Emergency services Calls to emergency
lines are exempted from federal Caller ID rules.
State rules and policies govern carriers obligations
to honor caller privacy requests to emergency numbers.
Blocking the callers name Some
Caller ID services also transmit the name of the
calling party. The FCCs Caller ID rules require
that when a caller requests his/her number be concealed,
a carrier may not reveal the callers name,
To block your telephone number
for any call, dial *-6-7 before dialing the
To unblock your number for any
call (if you have a blocked line), dial *-8-2
before dialing the telephone number.
Compliance on the Line: Telemarketers
to Start Transmitting Caller ID Information
Beginning January 29, 2004, telemarketers
must transmit Caller ID information in order to comply
with the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).Beginning
January 29, 2004, telemarketers must transmit Caller
ID information in order to comply with the Telemarketing
Sales Rule (TSR). This information will help consumers
choose which sales calls they want to take.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC),
the nation's consumer protection agency, amended the
TSR by creating the National Do Not Call Registry.
The registry protects consumers' privacy by giving
them a choice about whether they want to receive most
Telemarketers are required to transmit their telephone
number, and if possible, their name, to consumers'
Caller ID services. While it is technologically possible
to transmit callers' numbers nearly everywhere, transmitting
callers' names may not be available everywhere yet.
To comply with this requirement, a telemarketer
- transmit its own number and, where available, its
own name, to consumers' Caller ID services,
- or substitute the name of the seller (or charitable
organization) on whose behalf it is calling, and the
seller's (or charitable organization's) customer (or
donor) service telephone number, which is answered
during regular business hours.
The FTC acknowledges that some situations may arise
when a consumer who subscribes to a Caller ID service
does not receive a telemarketer's transmission of Caller
ID information, even though the telemarketer has arranged
to transmit the information in every call. For example,
that can happen if the Caller ID information is dropped
somewhere between the telemarketer's call center and
the consumer's telephone.
The FTC says that telemarketers who
can show that they took all available steps to ensure
the transmission of Caller ID information in every
call will not be held liable for isolated instances
when the Caller ID information fails to make it to
the consumer's receiver. However, a telemarketer's
use of calling equipment that can't transmit Caller
ID information is no excuse for failure to transmit
the required information.
According to the FTC, information transmitted through
Caller ID can facilitate the filing of complaints
if consumers suspect a caller is violating the National
Do Not Call Registry. A consumer whose number has
been on the Registry for at least three months must
know the date of the call, and either the name or
the telephone number of the company that called.
Consumers who have signed up for the National Do
Not Call Registry can file a do not call complaint
or by phone at 1-888-382-1222.
Information about the Federal Communications Commission's
telemarketing regulations under the Telephone Consumer
Protection Act, including provisions governing the
transmission of Caller ID (47 C.F.R. § 64.1200),
is available at www.fcc.gov. (reprint
Subscribing to Caller
ID in your home state: