CRTC giving phone companies 3 months to help you block ‘nuisance’ telemarketing calls

Telecom companies have 90 days to come up with ‘technical solutions … to block illegitimate nuisance calls within their networks,’ the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Monday.

And if the CRTC doesn’t like what it hears at the end of that time, there will be consequences, it warned.

“The CRTC is prepared to take further action if telecommunications service providers do not take sufficient measures to protect Canadians against unwanted calls,” the regulator said.

The CRTC has taken aim at unsolicited telemarketing tactics in recent years, beginning with the launch of the national Do Not Call list in 2008, which currently has 13 million numbers on it.

Now the regulator is going further, pushing telecom companies to crack down on new tactics that some marketers have begun using to get around the ban and gain access to mobile numbers in the digital age.

One such tactic is so-called caller ID spoofing, where telemarketers hide or misrepresent their identity by displaying fictitious phone numbers the receiver is more likely to answer.

The CRTC says it will issue a ruling on such spoofing soon.

Also on Monday, the CTRC gave telecom companies an additional deadline of 180 days to update it on filtering services they offer to their customers. (Filtering services screen calls on behalf of Canadians who subscribe to them, similar to email filters.)

“Telecommunications service providers are in the best position to develop and implement call management solutions for the millions of Canadians tired of receiving nuisance calls, just as they have done for e-mail and text messaging,’ chair Jean-Pierre Blais said in a release Monday.