Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have taken action to strengthen federal law against fraudulent Caller ID spoofing. The House recently passed, by voice vote, H.R. 3670, the Anti-Spoofing Act, and reported that legislation to the Senate. The House bill has bipartisan sponsorship from Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY) and Joe Barton (R-TX).
Another bipartisan bill, S. 2787, the Caller ID Scam Prevention Act, has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). The Senate bill has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Both bills would strengthen existing law that prohibits falsifying caller ID numbers where it is done either to defraud or cause harm.
The legislation is in reaction to an increased level of fraud-related Caller ID spoofing. For example, con artists recently used Caller ID spoofing to fool tens of thousands of Americans into believing that they were being contacted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The “crooks” posed as IRS employees demanding immediate payment for unpaid taxes. Some even went so far as to threaten to arrest consumers who failed to pay their taxes immediately with either debit cards or wire transfers. Other “spoofers” have posed as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and local police department, displaying these agencies’ names and telephone numbers.
The proposed legislation would cast the law’s net more widely to combat new tactics being used by “spoofers.” Specifically, the legislation would prohibit any foreigner from falsifying caller ID numbers when placing a call to any U.S. consumer. The law would be expanded to cover text messages as well as voice calls. Additionally, the bills would also cover VoIP services that enable spoofing of outgoing calls to mobile and landline phones when made from computers and tablets.
Some Washington insiders expect the legislation to be enacted by both houses of Congress in the “lame duck” session to be held after this year’s mid-term elections. This legislation, if signed by the President, could have significant implications on businesses engaged in telemarketing or debt collection efforts and those that facilitate it by offering access to robodialers and Caller ID spoofing technology.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this Advisory or the underlying legislation, please contact Robert H. Jackson at 703-714-1316 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Linda G. McReynolds at 703-714-1318 or email@example.com.