Senate OKs bill to strengthen anti-spoofing law

August 3, 2017

WASHINGTON, DCThe U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation Thursday to crack down on scam artists who falsify their Caller ID information to trick unsuspecting victims, a practice known as “spoofing”.

The bill, sponsored by U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), strengthens a law passed in 2010 that prohibits scammers from altering the Caller ID information on calls made in the U.S.  The legislation passed by the Senate today expands that prohibition to spoofing using text messages, calls made over the Internet and calls originating from a foreign country.

It also directs the Federal Communications Commission to publish information on its website to help consumers protect themselves from these spoofing scams.  And it calls on the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study of the federal government’s efforts to combat the practice of spoofing and identify any additional measures that may be needed.

“Fighting scam artists is like playing a game of Whac-A-Mole,” said Nelson, who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee.  “Once you think you’ve stopped them, they find other ways to continue to carry out their scams.  This bill will better enable the government to punish fraudsters who use new technologies to pray on unsuspecting victims.”

“Through the Spoofing Prevention Act, Congress can protect the most vulnerable in our society from fraudulent scams,” said Fischer.

Other sponsors of the legislation include Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).  The House of Representatives passed similar legislation in January. 

Click here to view text of the Spoofing Prevention Act of 2017.