Legislation to Protect Residents From Phone Spoofing

(Albany, NY) The New York State Senate today unanimously passed legislation that will protect residents from deception, harassment and possible fraud over the phone lines.The legislation (S.2753) would outlaw “spoofing,” a practice where telemarketers and others seek to mask their true identity by altering the number that appears on a person’s Caller ID.The practice of “spoofing” has been used to trick people that see a local number on their Caller ID into picking up a call from a solicitor. There has also been at least one documented case where spoofing was used as a harassment tactic. In that circumstance, an individual’s phone number deceptively appeared as the Caller ID location of a widely distributed pre-recorded call, resulting in a mass amount of return phone calls to the unsuspecting victim.Under Senator Johnson’s legislation, violators found to have used spoofing with the intent to defraud, harass, mislead, or cause harm to a person can be liable for a fine up to $100,000.“This repugnant and unacceptable tactic has been used to bring deceit and harassment into people’s homes,” said Senator Craig Johnson (D-Nassau), lead sponsor of the bill. “In the absence of a federal ban, we need an updated state law that will protect New York residents from this intrusion.”Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck) said, “”Last year thousands of New Yorkers, many of whom are seniors, were affected by fraudulent calls from unethical people and businesses. Our legislation empowers those who become victims of spoofing to hold the caller accountable, and I am very pleased to have joined with my colleagues and Senator Johnson in passing this very important consumer protection measure.”Senator Darrel J. Aubertine (D-Cape Vincent) said, “Families and seniors throughout New York State use caller ID services as a line of first defense against unsolicited telemarketers, and harassing or fraudulent phone calls. However, it only works if the information can be trusted. This bill will protect those who are called from being misled, while it also protects many other New Yorkers from being victimized when their identity is stolen and used to make those harassing or fraudulent calls. As technology continues to advance, we must remain vigilant to address the ways it can be misused.”Senator Antoine Thompson (D-parts of Erie and Niagara Counties) said, “Protecting the citizens of New York State from being scammed or harassed is critical. Misleading individuals by altering or ‘spoofing’ telephone caller id’s is fraudulent and should not be tolerated.

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