Texas Shuts Door on Telemarketers Lifts 101 Year Brass Knucks Ban
As of September 1, 820 new Texas laws went into effect that among other things make it illegal for telemarketers to call you using software to mask their identity, substituting instead a fake and often local looking number on caller ID. It's called ID spoofing.
In the past few years I've occasionally answered the phone with an unfamiliar number. But the 337 or 409 prefix always made me think 'well maybe it's somebody I know that isn't in the phone already'. And Wham! Within seconds I'm being asked about my insurance, my health, my house, my financial state.
Actually I developed my own defense. When, on occasion I answer an unknown number this is how I answer "Sheriff's Department, fraud division Lt. Dan speaking, what is your name, personal number and reason for calling, please?"
That typically gets me a quick hangup or a stuttering wrong number. I've actually thought about recording them and stringing them together to air on the radio for fun. Now and then a befuddled friend calling from a different number, or relative even will reluctantly question their dialing skill by asking "George?? I was trying to reach George" at which point I break into a chuckle.
A lot of friends have picked up on my defense and have related similar funny phone tales to me.
But now at least, if you live in Texas and you get a telemarketer, you might ask them for their mailing information so you can send them a copy of Texas House Bill 1992, which prohibits ID spoofing.
If the callers really get obnoxious, you can also let them know that Texas just lifted the 101 year old prohibition of brass knuckles. The status of prohibited-weapon in Texas meant if you had them in your possession you could be arrested and charged. Now you may possess them, as they are a legitimate self-defense weapon.
However, Texas lawmakers warn that the self-defense argument must be able to be made should you use them. Depending on circumstances you could be charged with serious related assault crimes if you deploy the hand hammers.
Somebody jumps you in the parking lot behind the bar whip out those babies and go to work. Your cousin owes you $50? Leave'm in the truck when you go to see him.
Louisiana passed a similar phone spoofing law last year, it went into effect in July so it's been ongoing for about a year and though some Baton Rouge lawmakers had said it would only be partially effective, I don't recall a 337 telemarketing call in a while, how about you?
The real trick of course if these callers persist with their annoying assaults is catching them.