The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced today the largest telemarketing fraud sweep ever coordinated by the agency. Through “Operation Tele-PHONEY,” the FTC has filed federal district court complaints against 13 allegedly deceptive telemarketing operations. Combined with the actions brought by other enforcement agencies, the sweep encompasses more than 180 cases that include both civil and criminal actions in the United States and Canada.
The American Teleservices Association (ATA), a non-profit professional trade association representing the contact center industry, is in strong support of Operation Tele-PHONEY. This FTC operation promotes the same principles endorsed by the ATA for over 25 years. ATA upholds efforts to enforce ethical business practices to protect the public, both business and consumer, from fraudulent telephone calls. The ATA does not condone deceptive practices via the telephone and promotes channel-wide self-regulation along with the support of consumer groups.
Tim Searcy, the chief executive officer of the ATA, stated, “The current anti-fraud provisions contained in the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) as well as existing state and federal criminal laws are sufficient to protect consumers, provided they are enforced aggressively.” Searcy continued, “The FTC and its law enforcement partners have proven that today.”
The American Teleservices Association has taken its own measures toward self-regulation and enforcement of fraudulent activities within the Teleservices industry. In 2006, the Association created a Self-Regulatory Organization and subsequently released its own contact center self-regulatory standards. These standards include a section dedicated solely to consumer privacy protection. The standards incorporate current data privacy laws and regulations, but they also go a step beyond existing laws by requiring companies to comply with data security rules developed by major credit card associations, as well as best practices promulgated by international standardization organizations.