Bill to Crack Down on Scammers Advances

September 22, 2016 news
Bill to Crack Down on Scammers Advances

Congressman Leonard Lance secured passage of the Anti-Spoofing Act to crack down on scammers.

Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) secured passage of H.R. 2669, the Anti-Spoofing Act,through the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The measure now heads to the House Floor for consideration. The Anti-Spoofing Act outlaws ‘spoofing’ - a practice where con artists disguise their phone numbers to make it appear that they’re calling from a government agency.

“The problem of caller ID spoofing has gotten out of control. Millions of Americans continue to get ripped off by con artists and scammers who perpetrate this despicable crime, with many victims losing thousands of dollars. This disgraceful practice must end and my consumer protection legislation goes a long way toward accomplishing that critical goal. I hope the House will consider it immediately,” said Lance after the committee vote.

The Anti-Spoofing Act would target caller ID spoofing. In addition to government entities, scammers have reportedly spoofed banks, police departments, credit card companies, pharmacies and hospitals. Once unsuspecting recipients answer the call, scammers ask for and often receive the person’s personal or financial information, then use it to commit fraud.

Lance joined Reps. Grace Meng (NY-06) and Joe Barton (TX-06) in authoring the legislation to combat the widespread telephone scam. To date millions have been defrauded including veterans, immigrants and particularly senior citizens.

Lance’s legislation earned the support of Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano. Provenzano’s office reported that scammers cloned the phone number of the Somerset County Sheriff's Office and impersonated the sheriff's staff in an effort to steal residents’ personal information.

“I feel that this legislation will give us the tools to fully prosecute the people who take advantage of the unsuspecting public,” Sheriff Provenzano previously stated.

This legislation aims to combat spoofing by strengthening the Truth in Caller ID Act. The measure would:

  • Broaden the law to prohibit spoofing by foreigners. Presently, many U.S.-based companies spoof calls to U.S. residents but originate them from outside the United States;
  • Broaden the law to include new internet-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services that enable callers to make outgoing-only calls from computers and tablets to mobile and landline phones, a practice that has contributed significantly to the spoofing problem;
  • Broaden the law to include text messaging, a spoofing method that fraudsters use with increased regularity.