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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • The house Passed September 9th, 2014
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      House Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Communications and Technology
    IntroducedDecember 5th, 2013

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What is it?

This bill would order the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to crack down on “spoofing services.” The crackdown would come in the form of an attack on an Act that has been on the ledger for decades — the Communications Act of 1934.

In this context, a “spoofing service” is a service that allows an individual to manipulate a caller identification service to relay misleading or false caller identification information. This is typically done by individuals who are trying to defraud or otherwise harm strangers, or to simply block the identity of the person making a call. For example, an identity thief can use a spoofing service to pretend to be a bank or a government agency, allowing them to collect sensitive personal information from customers.
 

Under the current Communications Act, it’s illegal for a caller identification service to transmit misleading caller identification information. However, this Act only applies to services within the U.S. In addition to giving the FCC more teeth to regulate this practice, this bill would make it illegal for a person to knowingly transmit inaccurate caller identification information to individuals living in the U.S.

H.R. 3670 would also revise the definition of “caller identification information/service” so that it includes text messages. It would also prohibit various voice-over-Internet services that can be used to transmit false identification information.

Impact

People with phones, caller identification services, foreign callers using spoof-services, identity thieves, and the FCC.

Cost

$500.00 Thousand
The CBO estimates that H.R. 3670 would cost less than $500,000 to implement.

More Information

Of Note:

Spoofing services that mask caller identification are often used by scammers to trick people into divulging sensitive information over the phone. But they’re also used semi-legally by telemarketers to avoid being reported to the FCC’s do-no-call list.


They’re also used to play pranks. But these aren’t always innocent jokes. In San Diego, scammers pretending to be sheriff employees contacted residents and claimed they had warrants out for their arrest, threatening them with jail time if they didn’t pay fines.


While several services offer protection from spoofing, there’s currently a wide loophole that scammers can exploit: calling individuals using their own phone number. As Aaron Foss, the operator of a robocall-blocking service puts it:

“We don’t want to block good calls and who would call themselves?”

Media:

Fiscal Times

NBC San Diego

(Photo Credit: Flickr user rejon)

AKA

Anti-Spoofing Act of 2014

Official Title

To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to expand and clarify the prohibition on provision of inaccurate caller identification information, and for other purposes.

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