Though traditional fax technology has been around for decades, online fax technology like eFax has become an important tool for present day business and personal communication needs. But just like receiving phone calls on your phone, not every fax you receive is welcome. Unsolicited faxes can be a real pain, especially in fax marketing schemes where an advertiser sends you promotions you didn’t sign up for. Getting to the bottom of them will require you to identify the person sending it, so here are some of the ways you can identify the sender of a fax.
Start with the easiest technique, and then proceed to the more difficult ones. On the incoming fax document, examine the top or bottom of the page. Look out for a 10-digit number. You could also select the ‘recent faxes’ option on your fax machine and then scroll through the most recent numbers that appear on the display screen. You can then run a Google search of the number to find the owner.
It may very well be that all you need to do to determine who is sending the fax is to call them. If it’s an advertisement, it’s likely that there’ll be a contact phone number somewhere within the document. Call the number and, for a few minutes, feign interest in their product. This will trick them into divulging who they are and where you can find them.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Telecommunications Consumer Division publishes citations for unsolicited faxes. All you may need to do is enter the title of the unsolicited fax into the search box and this will bring up details of the offender and citation.
Unsolicited faxes are rarely sent to just one person. They are usually broadcast to hundreds or thousands of numbers at a time. Chances are that someone has already complained before you, either officially or on a public forum. You may just find that the identity of the sender was revealed during a conversation about the complaint.
In addition, a Google search of the fax number or removal number could lead you to the sender’s website if the number is included in their contact information.
Fax header identification could help you identify a fax broadcasting service. It works best if you have received dozens of unsolicited faxes from the same number. Take these faxes and group them into piles based on the type of header they have, or lack thereof. You will likely end up with five or so piles.
Look at the pile where the fax you are investigating falls under. If the types of faxes in this pile are diverse in offers but have a similar header, then you are dealing with a fax broadcaster. If they all offer a similar product, then it’s likely a direct advertiser.
This is one of the more difficult ways to ID the sender and should therefore be a last resort. When you receive an unsolicited fax, immediately dial *57 to initiate a call trace. Doing that creates a record of the phone number at the telephone company. This number and the call’s meta data is recorded, even if the fax sender hid their number before the fax transmission.
Due to the sensitivity of this information, the telephone company will only avail this information to law enforcement. You must therefore file a police report as soon as possible anytime you dial *57.
You shouldn’t engage a lawyer each time you receive an unsolicited fax. However, there are certain instances where you should. For instance, if there’s no other way to identify the sender or if they fail to take heed to your request that they cease sending unsolicited faxes. An attorney may be just what you need to get to the bottom of the problem if previous efforts have not stopped the problem.
Organizations could send unsolicited faxes directly or opt to use a fax broadcasting service. Both the creator of the fax and the fax broadcaster are liable under the law for unsolicited faxes. It can be more difficult to identify a fax broadcaster, but if you do, you can ask them to remove your fax number from any transmissions relayed through their service.