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Meng Introduces Bill to Prevent 'Spoofing' from Telemarketers, Scammers

Congresswoman's bill would fight practice during which fake names and phone numbers appear on caller ID.

Grace Meng
Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, D-Flushing, and two other Congress members have introduced a bill that aims to reduce fraudulent phone calls and texts.

Meng said that a practice known as “spoofing” consists of fake names and phone numbers being displayed on recipients’ caller ID in order to trick them into answering the phone or replying to a text message.

The practice is widely used by scammers and some telemarketers.

“The purpose of caller ID is to know the identity of the person who is calling or texting you,” Meng said. “But all too often, the name and number that is displayed is not the actual name and number of the caller or texter. Unfortunately, it’s often some telemarketers attempting to pull a fast one or con artists trying to rip off unsuspecting recipients, especially seniors.”

Meng introduced a bill to combat “spoofing” along with U.S. Reps. Joe Barton, R-TX, and Leonard Lance, R-NJ.

Scammers often utilize the “spoofing” method to obtain personal or financial information by misrepresenting themselves as employees from government agencies, banks, hospitals, pharmacies or credit card companies.

In 2009, Congress passed the Truth in Caller ID Act, which prohibits caller ID “spoofing” when it is used to defraud Americans. But “spoofing” technology has evolved since the law was passed and criminals have found ways to circumvent it.

Meng’s bill would broaden the law to prohibit “spoofing” from outside the United States, include new Internet-based Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services that enable callers to make outgoing-only calls from computers to mobile and landline phones, extend the law to include texting and require that legitimate “spoofing” providers adequately inform users of all applicable laws.

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