Editorials

We give the PSC no-call app our ringing endorsement

CagleCartoons.com

Rogue telemarketers might not like the Mississippi Public Service Commission but we sure do.

The PSC has come up with an ingenious smartphone app that will make it tough on the telemarketers who refuse to play by the rules.

Since Nov. 1, it has been harder for callers to hide behind “spoofed” numbers that misidentify them on caller ID and it has been easier for the rest of us to report them.

The idea for the app came from Northern District PSC Commissioner Brandon Presley when he was relaxing on his porch. (In case you’re looking for an excuse to spend more time on your porch.)

Like most people, Presley got a little mad when an unwanted telemarketer interrupted his reverie. But, like most people, he didn’t want to take the time to report the violation. But, he thought, what if I could do it with just a few clicks of a smartphone.

Now we all can. It takes just minutes to download the app and register your number(s). Then when you get an unwanted call you can file a complaint right from your phone with just a few clicks.

In the app’s first two weeks, Presley said, more than 8,500 people have signed up.

It’s true that you can block numbers with most smartphones but telemarketers just return with another fake number. They just don’t take no for an answer.

But the information relayed to the PSC by the app will give investigators ammunition to go after these rogues and shut them down. The PSC has issued millions in fines under the do-not-call list. We hope this brings in millions more, which would help the PSC develop even more anti-scam technology.

Presley crisscrossed the state to tell as many people as he could about the app and about his agenda for the coming legislative session. He wants to allow class-action suits in Mississippi against telemarketers who violate the no-call rule.

And, he has a strike-force trying to develop technology that will tell smartphone users whether the number on the caller ID has been verified.

Cracking down on telemarketing schemes is just one of the many duties of the PSC, which also regulates electric, gas, water and sewer utilities. They make the tough calls on rates and the like and we appreciate the fair-handedness and diligence of Presley, Southern District Commissioner Sam Britton and Central District Commissioner Cecil Brown.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

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