H.R. 2669, Anti-Spoofing Act of 2015

H.R. 2669

Anti-Spoofing Act of 2015

Sponsor
Rep. Grace Meng

Date
November 14, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Monday, November 14, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 2669, the Anti-Spoofing Act of 2015, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 2669 was introduced on June 4, 2015, by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) and was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote on September 21, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2669 extends the provisions of the Truth in Caller ID Act to include text messaging as well as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), enabling the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to levy penalties and criminal fines against individuals that use fake information about a caller’s identification to defraud or harm another. The bill requires the FCC in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission to develop consumer education materials to help consumers identify spoofing scams.

Background

“Spoofing” occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally. Under the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, FCC rules prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value. If no harm is intended or caused, spoofing is not illegal. Anyone who is illegally spoofing can face penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation.[1]

The original Truth in Caller ID Act prohibits spoofing voice caller identification. However, according to the Committee, as communications methods and consumer habits continue to evolve, so too do the attempts by third parties to fraudulently gain personal information for criminal use. Many Americans are now relying on text messaging to stay connected, and this method of communication has become a target for spoofing.

According to the bill sponsor, “The problem of caller ID spoofing has gotten out of control. Millions of Americans continue to get ripped off by con artists and scammers who perpetrate this despicable crime, many losing thousands of dollars. It is way past time to reign in this disgraceful practice and this legislation would go a long way towards accomplishing that critical goal.”[2]

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[1] See FCC website, Spoofing and Caller ID
[2] See Rep. Grace Meng Press Release, “Meng, Barton and Lance Reintroduce Legislation to Combat Widespread Telephone Scams Targeting and Defrauding Millions of Americans,” June 4, 2015.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 2669 would increase the agency’s costs by less than $500,000 to enforce the expanded prohibition and to update current consumer education materials. Moreover, the FCC is authorized to collect fees sufficient to offset the costs of its regulatory activities each year; therefore, CBO estimates that the net effect on discretionary spending would be negligible, assuming appropriation actions consistent with that authority.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.