How many times does this happen? You get a call from a number you don’t recognize, but the location shows it’s someone calling from your area. Maybe it’s the doctor’s office. Maybe it’s the mechanic calling to say your car is ready at the shop. So you take the chance. You answer, and the person on the other end of the line asks in a thick accent if you’d like to buy a timeshare or some nonsense.

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A bill working its way through the Illinois Senate would make spoofing and spamming illegal. The Telephone Solicitations Act would require both live and automated operators to immediately identify themselves with their names, their organization, and the reason they are calling. The bill would also require the caller to get consent from the person they called immediately before any solicitation occurs.

Even more importantly, it would ban these spammers/spoofers from changing their caller ID to trick people into picking up phone from a more familiar number.

In a statement, the bill’s sponsor State Sen. Suzy Glowiak said, “As technology advances, scammers use creative, deceitful tactics to trick residents into giving them personal information. By prohibiting automated solicitors from falsifying caller ID, I hope to protect residents from falling victim to telephone scams.”

It's a great concept, but will it actually work? Maybe not, but I think it’s worth a try. I’m not sure it would even be enforceable, but maybe it will be a deterrent and will result in fewer of these annoying calls.

Scammers are notoriously creative. They find all kinds of ways around these kinds of laws. Many of them will call anyway and take the risk that they won’t get reported. You see it all the time with the Do Not Call Registry, where you’ll still have to put up at least a few marketing calls. In my experience though, the No Call Registry has worked wonders in cutting back unwanted calls. I get very few of them since joining the list. All you need to do is take two minutes and visit donotcall.gov to add your name to the registry.