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Senate Passes Bill to Combat Phone Scams Against Seniors

Press Release from Sen. Joe Haynes, D-Nashville, Feb. 18, 2010:

Bill would fine deceptive dialers up to $2,500 per call

NASHVILLE – Sen. Joe Haynes, D-Nashville, applauded the Senate’s unanimous vote Thursday to pass his bill designed to protect senior citizens by prohibiting the use of autodialers to disguise phone numbers.

“This is a big step toward protecting senior citizens from being taken advantage of by swindlers looking to make a quick buck,” Haynes said.

The bill (SB2501) would make it a Class A misdemeanor for anyone in the state to use a false or concealed number through an autodialer to call another Tennessee phone number. Offenders would be fined up to $2,500 for each deceptive call.

Haynes has received complaints from Davidson County residents saying their senior citizen relatives and friends have received outrageous contract offers from insurance agents, pest control companies and people posing as home repair agencies.

Political candidates, schools, businesses and charities still would be allowed to use autodialers, as long as their Tennessee phone number and name were displayed through caller identification. A political candidate would have to sign a written document authorizing the owner of the autodialer to use the candidate’s phone number.

Phone companies would not be held liable under the measure, which would apply only to calls within Tennessee. The House version, sponsored by Rep. Gary Moore (D-Joelton), awaits a subcommittee vote.

“We’re closer to making sure our senior citizens and their families can identify who is calling. They deserve to know who is on the other end of the line,” Haynes said.

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Senator Joe Haynes represents portions of Davidson County. Contact him at sen.joe.haynes@capitol.tn.gov or (615) 741-6679 or G19 War Memorial Building, Nashville, TN 37243-0220.

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