In this post you’ll see how to be effective and compliant with the Truth In Caller ID Act of 2009.
The Law: Truth In Caller ID Act Of 2009.
What the Law Says
The laws says, “(1) IN GENERAL- It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, in connection with any telecommunications service or IP-enabled voice service, to cause any caller identification service to knowingly transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, unless such transmission is exempted pursuant to paragraph (3)(B)” (3(B) exemption is available only to law enforcement agencies or anyone else that gets a court order specifically authorizing caller id spoofing—for example, a battered women’s shelter might seek such an order).
The language to key in on for skip tracing and investigations is “…misleading or inaccurate caller identification information”.
Defining Caller Identification Information
Section 8 in the law defines “caller identification information” as:
“(A) CALLER IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION- The term ‘caller identification information’ means information provided by a caller identification service regarding the telephone number of, or other information regarding the origination of, a call made using a telecommunications service or IP-enabled voice service”.
BellesLink allows you to display any telephone number you’re leasing from us, or any other number you own or lease, on the caller ID.
I work from home. I call customers using BellesLink – displaying our office number and name on the caller ID. Doing so is not a violation of the law. Why not? Because I’m calling you from Belles Camp — it’s our number and a number I can be reached at. If I’m calling a cell, someone can call me back by tapping the number in their “Recents” view. It doesn’t matter that I’m at home (because I’ve set my Belles Camp office number on BellesLink to ring me at home).
Making calls from home, displaying “Belles Camp” on the caller ID is not a violation of the law, because it’s not “misleading or inaccurate caller identification information”.
Using Caller ID
Next let’s key in on the definition of “caller identification information”.
Caller Identification information is defined in the law as “…information provided by a caller identification service regarding the telephone number of, or other information regarding the origination of, a call made using a telecommunications service or IP-enabled voice service”.
I’m calling you from Belles Camp, but I’m at home. My location is irrelevant, because “the telephone number of” on the caller ID is our number. It follows that “other information regarding the origination of, a call…”, the caller ID text, is in compliance too – because I’m calling from Belles Camp. If you tap the number you get me at Belles Camp.
When you get a call from an online retailer, your caller ID shows a number somewhere in the United States. But most likely, that person is not working here in the states – they’re overseas in India or somewhere. Is the online retailer in violation of the law? No, they’re not.
So how does this relate to BellesLink?
Same premise. When you activate a BellesLink number, the number you activated is yours – you pay for it. When someone calls your BellesLink number you can be reached wherever you are, or it goes to voicemail. Therefore, the BellesLink number is the “telephone number of” and you’re in compliance.
You also get caller ID name with BellesLink, the ability to set the caller ID text that displays with each call. By displaying a caller ID name along with your BellesLink number on the caller ID, that’s also not a violation. Because, the caller ID name is “other information regarding the origination of, a call…” (we also have programming that checks that whatever caller ID name you’re using is compliant).
Two Compliance Examples
Here’s two examples for repossessions and investigations that are in compliance with the law.
You left a message with someone in Los Angeles using a 310 BellesLink number – “Hello. I’m calling from a repo company. Please call me back at this number”. When they call back a message plays – “Thanks for the repo company”. As long as you are a repo company, conducting a repossession, this is compliant.
You placed a call to someone in Seattle using a 206 BellesLink number. The called party sees “Smith Inv” along with the 206 number on their caller ID. When they answer you say, “Hello. This is Smith Investigations, how can I help you”? As long as you are Smith Investigations, you’re compliant.
In both examples your “caller identification information” was neither “misleading or inaccurate”. Each time they call, you can be reached at the number. The message played when the BellesLink number answers matches why you’re calling. The “telephone number of, or other information regarding the origination of, a call…” is accurate.
What You Display, Not What You Say.
This post is solely intended to address what you display for a call — not what you say on a call.
Blocking Caller ID
The law also allows you to block your caller identification information. See this:
“(2) PROTECTION FOR BLOCKING CALLER IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION
Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prevent or restrict any person from blocking the capability of any caller identification service to transmit caller identification information”.
One could easily make the argument that by blocking your caller identification information and displaying a BellesLink number instead, all you’re doing, is blocking your caller ID—which the law allows for.
BellesLink does not include spoofing. The reason why not is that we believe, in so far as skip tracing or investigations goes, it’s not compliant.
Spoofing and The Truth In Caller ID Act of 2009. What You Need to Know.
An Overview of Spoofing and the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009
Spoofing. How it Violates the Law.
What is NOT Spoofing. What the Truth in Caller ID Act Says.