TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND INSURANCE
Scammers who target Tennessee consumers with caller identification ‘spoofing’ or use deceptive advertising to sell motor vehicle warranties now face additional punishments thanks to new legislation passed by the General Assembly.
According to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI)’s Division of Consumer Affairs, the new legislation deepens Tennessee’s commitment to protecting and enforcing the Consumer Protection Act.
“As scammers become more sophisticated and sharpen their deceitful tactics, we must adapt in order to continue to protect consumers, especially the vulnerable and elderly,” TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said in a press release. “These new protections give our partners in law enforcement more ways to punish bad actors and, hopefully, prevent scammers from hurting our senior population.”
Here’s a breakdown of the legislation:
- SBO511/HB1050 revises the Anti-Phishing Act of 2006 by making it a Class A misdemeanor to send inaccurate or misleading caller ID information with the intent to defraud, harm or steal. Under the legislation, the Attorney General may seek a court order and recover a penalty of up to $10,000 per violation.
- SB0737/HB0726 adds to the violations of the Consumer Protection Act of 1977 any deceptive advertising or services of the services of a motor vehicle warranty that insinuates the warranty originated from the original manufacturer of the vehicle or from the dealer that sold the vehicle.
While the legislation adds greater punishment to scammers, the Division of Consumer Affairs urged Tennessee consumers to be aware that scammers could be targeting them with a ploy known as ID spoofing.
- Don’t answer the phone if your number shows up on your phone’s Caller ID.
- Don’t attempt to call the number back, and do not press any buttons if prompted.
- If you do answer the call, don’t give out your personal or financial information. Never give your personal information over the phone to someone you don’t know.
- If you believe you’re the victim of an ID Spoofing scam, call TDCI’s Division of Consumer Affairs at (615) 741-4737 or file a complaint online.
- If you lost money on a scam as a result of ID Spoofing, immediately report the theft to your local police or sheriff’s department.