"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, Federal Communication Commission (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.
H.R. 423 extends the provisions of the Truth in Caller ID Act to include text messaging as well as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), enabling the FCC to levy penalties and criminal fines against individuals that use fake information about a caller’s identification to defraud or harm another.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 23, 2017.
(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)
Anti-Spoofing Act of 2017
(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Communications Act of 1934 to expand the prohibition against knowingly transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller identification information to apply to: (1) persons outside the United States if the recipient is within the United States, and (2) text messages.
Existing caller identification requirements that apply to calls made using a telecommunications service or IP-enabled voice service are revised to apply to: (1) services interconnected with the public switched telephone network and that furnish voice communications using resources from the North American Numbering Plan; and (2) transmissions from a telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device to a telephone facsimile machine.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must coordinate with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to regularly update education materials that help consumers identify: (1) scams and fraudulent activity that rely upon misleading or inaccurate caller identification information, and (2) existing technologies that consumers can use to protect against such fraud.
The Government Accountability Office must report on: (1) actions taken, or actions that could be taken, by the FCC or the FTC to combat the fraudulent provision of misleading or inaccurate caller identification information; and (2) any recommendations to combat the fraudulent provision of such information.