Volunteer army sought to help crack down on illegal telemarketers

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NETTLETON, Miss. (WCBI) – Dishonest telemarketers are the target of a unique initiative by Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley.

The Northern District Commissioner said he wants to enlist the public’s help to hold unscrupulous companies accountable.

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We’ve all received the phone calls, some promise a free prize, while others have a threatening message.

Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley has called out companies who violate Mississippi’s “No Call Law.”

But he wants to do more to rein in the dishonest robo callers, and he is asking the public to help.

“We are asking citizens that are interested in going a couple of steps further, helping with our investigations, almost becoming a reserve investigator for us,” said Presley.

While Presley said it’s good for people to report phone numbers of illegal robo calls, he believes an army of volunteers, trained to ask specific questions and gather valuable information, could make a big difference.

“We are going to be the first state in the country that reaches out to citizens , carries them through training, explains what to ask, to help us build a case to prosecute these folks who quite frankly, are sitting around with nothing better to do, they have their minds set on stealing and harassing Mississippians,” he said.

The main requirements for joining the volunteer army;  you have to have a phone and be at least 18-years-old.  All information collected will be relayed to Presley’s office where investigators will take over and look into each case.

“We just put telemarketers on notice, that if you are selling such things as home security systems, you may be showing up at a house where a Public Service  Commission Investigator is there playing along as if we wanted to buy the home security system, now the person showing up to sell it probably has not violated the law, but we will be able to trace down who caused that call to be made,” said Presley.

Presley also points out that tougher laws protecting Mississippi consumers from telemarketers take effect July First.

Presley said anyone who is interested in helping with the crackdown on illegal telemarketers should contact his office.

For more information, send an email to taskforce@psc.ms.gov