Meng Bill to Combat Widespread Telephone Scam Passed by House
Last night, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) that seeks to combat a widespread telephone scam known as spoofing.
Under the scheme, criminals disguise their caller ID to make it appear that they’re calling from a government agency, financial institution, law enforcement agency or other official entity. They then steal large sums of money from those they call by tricking them into wiring cash or providing personal information such as Social Security or bank account numbers.
“Millions of unsuspecting Americans continue to get ripped off through this unconscionable scam,” said Meng. “We must do all we can to combat it and my bill would go a long way towards accomplishing that critical goal. I’ve heard heartbreaking stories of individuals losing thousands of dollars because scammers duped them into believing that they would be arrested or fined if they failed to immediately pay up. We cannot allow these con artists to keep preying upon innocent consumers. I applaud the House for passing my legislation and I call on the Senate to immediately approve it as well.”
Meng’s bill, entitled the Anti-Spoofing Act (H.R. 2669) would crack down on spoofing by strengthening the Truth in Caller ID Act. The measure would:
- Broaden the law to prohibit spoofing from abroad. Presently, spoofing to defraud Americans is not against the law if the calls originate from outside the U.S.
- 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
Meng’s bill passed 382 to 5. Her legislation is also sponsored by Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ).