Friday, January 17, 2020

Hilbert files bill to crack down on telemarketers and scam calls


Hilbert Files Legislation to Crack Down on Telemarketers and Scam Calls

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives will consider legislation to prevent telemarketers from replicating numbers and misrepresenting the origin of a phone call.

Rep. Kyle Hilbert (R-Bristow) on Thursday filed House Bill 3081 to prohibit callers from tampering with information displayed on caller IDs to disguise their identities. This practice is known as caller ID spoofing and is commonly used by telemarketers and scammers.

Hilbert said while the ultimate solution to this problem lies at the federal level, and through the work Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is doing with federal regulators, Oklahoma should take steps now to cut down on spam phone calls.

“We must do everything in our power as a state to limit these calls,” Hilbert said. “We need to give Oklahoma prosecutors every tool possible to hold accountable the morally bankrupt individuals who run these telephone scams on the elderly and the vulnerable.”

Hilbert said the idea came from a similar bill passed in Texas last year.

Sen. James Leewright (R-Bristow) will serve as the Senate author.

“Every Oklahoman has experienced firsthand how frustrating it is to answer a call with your area code only to be met with an automated telemarketer or scammer,” Leewright said. “Until Washington takes strong action to prohibit these dishonest and unethical practices, Oklahoma needs to take steps to cut down on caller ID spoofing within our state.” 

Joe Ann Vermillion, Oklahoma state volunteer president for AARP, says the organization is in support of the bill.

“AARP is pleased to see Oklahoma legislators taking action on preventing these predatory telemarketing practices that prey upon our citizens,” Vermillion said. “AARP research shows that three in five adults pick up calls from a local area code, and 44 percent will answer calls from an area code where friends or families live. This legislation will empower all Oklahomans to gain an upper hand on the criminals utilizing spoofing to steal our identities and hard-earned money.”

The second session of the 57th Legislature will begin Monday, Feb. 3 at noon with the State of the State address from Gov. Kevin Stitt in the House Chamber.

Rep. Kyle Hilbert, a Republican, serves District 29 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

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