Now more than ever, Sammie Graham has one question when his phone rings. Answer it or let it go to voicemail?
"They come at the most inconvenient time, and like I said, you know, it distracts you from what you're doing,” he said.
Graham's not talking about just any phone call. He's talking about spoofed ones – AKA when telemarketers or scammers transform their numbers, or a 1-800 number, into an 803.
"I've had my own exact same number call me!" said Graham.
The same goes for Representative Rick Martin (R-Newberry).
"They'll use the 803, 843, or 864 area code and plus a local prefix,” Rep. Martin said. “Like, here in Newberry, it's 276, or 321, 405."
Martin believes most of the calls are coming from outside the state from telemarketers using apps or computer programs to disguise their numbers with those South Carolina numbers.
"We call it spoofing. They're taking your phone number and then calling someone, so the person on the receiving end thinks it's Chad Mills calling them,” he said in an interview with WIS’ Chad Mills.
Martin said he and his constituents are getting so many spoofed calls, he's written a bill to stop those “spoofers” that could open some of them up to big fines or jail time if they're caught.
"I've had people ask me, 'How are you going to enforce it?' Well, we're going to through the FCC and interstate commerce,” Rep. Martin said. “We're pushing the telephone companies, and, so far, most of them have been very receptive and said, 'Yes, we're going to help you and we're going push this very hard, and we're going to try to put a stop to it.'"
Bobby Carico, another spoof victim, hopes so.
"I've got a lot of blocked numbers on my phone. In fact, I think the last time I looked I had 53 numbers that were blocked because of stuff like that,” Carico said.
Martin's bill will be talked about in a committee next Wednesday.
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