COMET reached out to Congresswoman Meng several years ago asking that something be done to stop the practice of "spoofing".
I highlighted in yellow the definition of "spoofing" for those of you who are not familiar with the term.
Let's hope this helps put an end to the telephone scams that have claimed many victims.
Many thanks for Congresswoman Meng for staying on top of this important issue!!
Roe Daraio, President
COMET Civic Association
For Immediate Release: March 23, 2018
MENG LEGISLATION TO COMBAT WIDESPREAD TELEPHONE SCAM SIGNED INTO LAW
Scam has adversely affected Queens residents
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) announced today that her legislation to combat a widespread telephone scam that has adversely affected Queens residents has been signed into law.
The legislation, which was signed into law this afternoon as part of the omnibus spending bill, would crack down on criminals who engage in spoofing, a scheme in which criminals disguise their caller ID to make it appear that they’re calling from a financial institution, police department or government agency. Using technology to impersonate their name and/or phone number, these crooks call unsuspecting victims and falsely claim they’re from one of these official entities. They then steal their money by convincing them to wire cash or provide bank account or personal information.
Thieves posing as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) personnel who demand immediate payment for unpaid taxes – and disguise their telephone numbers to make it appear that the call is originating from IRS – has been among the more prevalent schemes.
“Spoofing has been one of the fastest growing forms of fraud in America, but the enactment of my Anti-Spoofing Act will provide new and critical tools to stop those who perpetrate this deceitful and malicious crime,” saidCongresswoman Meng. “Finally, we can fight back against these unconscionable thieves who for too long have preyed on unwitting consumers including the most vulnerable in our society such as immigrants and the elderly.”
“Enactment of this legislation has been a long time coming,” Meng added. “Spoofing is an issue that I began to tackle during my first term in Congress. My bill passed the House several times but the Senate refused to act. I kept up the fight though and continuously pushed for this legislation to become law. I thank Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) who, from the beginning, partnered with me on this measure, and I thank everybody who supported this bipartisan and common-sense effort. I am proud to have championed this legislation and I’m extremely pleased that it is now the law of the land.”
Meng’s legislation would make spoofing attempts from abroad a criminal act. Presently, spoofing to defraud Americans is not against the law if the calls originate from outside the U.S.
Her measure would also expand spoofing protections to cover text messaging and internet-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services that enable individuals to make calls from computers and tablets.
In addition, the legislation would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to regularly update education materials that help consumers identify and protect themselves from caller ID scams.
The Congresswoman first sponsored anti-spoofing legislation after receiving spoofing complaints from local seniors and the “Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET),” a civic organization in her district in Queens.
"It's great to hear that anti-spoofing legislation has been signed into law and I thank Congresswoman Meng for shepherding the bill through Congress,” said COMET President Roe Daraio. “It will help deter con artists from posing as the IRS, banks and other entities, and stop them from stealing cash or identities from unsuspecting victims. Hopefully, this enacted legislation will put an end to this activity once and for all."