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News : Efforts Being Ramped Up to Catch Bogus Telemarketers
Sept 29, 2014 -- Robocalls are nothing new, but now overseas telemarketers are finding news way to trick Canadian consumers by pretending to be credible North American companies.
From the so-called "Microsoft scam" to bogus vacation prizes from Air Miles Canada, more and more people are receiving calls from telemarketers claiming to be from reputable companies.
WestJet is the latest company to have its good name co-opted by phone scammers.
The airline told CTV News, "the people behind these calls are fraudsters based at a call centre in Mexico."
And a former Telus customer information number that was retired by the phone company is now being used by overseas telemarketers claiming to give away free cruises to the Bahamas.
Consumer reporter Lynda Steele played the recording for a Telus communications manager.
"The challenge is often times once we've blocked a number, the fraudsters have already moved on and are using a different prefix," said Liz Sauve.
And if you're worried that overseas telemarketers have your number?
"Oftentimes they're using something called a demon dialer and what that software does is it dials thousands if not tens of thousands of numbers at random, at one time waiting for someone to pick up," said Sauve.
The CRTC is going after the people responsible by setting up so called "voice honeypots" to collect date & time stamps on calls from rogue telemarketers overseas. The information will help officials track, then block those unwanted calls from entering Canada.
"It is difficult to enforce our regime outside Canada, but we have had some success and we will continue to investigate telemarketers out of Canada with the purposes of getting them to comply with our laws," said Tom Lowry, director of telecommunications enforcement at the CRTC.
The CRTC has already teamed up with Mexican authorities, stopping two vacation companies from harassing Canadian customers with unwanted telemarketing calls.
"We will never stop all unwanted calls. It is impossible. But we do believe we will reduce, reduce significantly the number of calls to Canadians whether that be calls from within or outside Canada," said Lowry.
To help the CRTC track down these telemarketers, keep a pad of paper handy. Write down the telemarketer’s name, phone number, details of the message and type of call – whether it was a robocall or a live person. Also write down any call back number they give you or any website they mention.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Today's Tip of the Day - Power Hour
More Editorial From WestJet
WestJet Airlines Ltd. is a Canadian airline, which began as a low-cost carrier, that provides scheduled and charter air service to 91 destinations in Canada, the United States, Europe, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
About Canadian Radio and Television Commission:
The CRTC is an independent, public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
Published: Tuesday, September 30, 2014