August 14, By Jason Cohen
A bill that would combat a widespread telephone scam passed the U.S. Senate Friday, which followed Forest Hills Congresswoman Grace Meng’s bill–the “Anti-Spoofing Act of 2017”–which passed in the House of Representatives in November.
The Spoofing Prevention Act of 2017 would crack down on those who engage in spoofing, a scheme in which criminals disguise their caller ID to make it appear that they’re from a financial institution, police department or government agency.
Using technology to impersonate their name and/or phone number, these individuals then call people and falsely claim they’re from one of these official entities. They then steal victims’ money by convincing them to wire cash or provide bank account or personal information.
“Spoofing is a despicable scam and the Senate’s passage of anti-spoofing legislation brings us one step closer to putting an end to it,” Meng said. “For too long, criminals have gotten away with using fake caller ID information to steal hard-earned money – sometimes thousands of dollars and complete savings accounts – from innocent and unsuspecting victims. I thank the Senate for passing this important bill and I will continue to push forward until anti-spoofing legislation becomes the law of the land. We must finally stop these crooks from ripping off the public.”
Meng’s legislation would make spoofing attempts from abroad a criminal act. Currently, spoofing to defraud Americans is not against the law if the calls originate from outside the country.
The bill would also expand spoofing protections to cover text messaging and internet-based Voice over Internet Protocol services that enable callers to make calls from computers and tablets.
Additionally, it would require the Federal Communications Commission, in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission, to regularly update education materials that help consumers identify and protect themselves from caller ID scams.