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From the Desk of Senator Craig Johnson - June 12, 2009

Legislation to Protect NY State Residents From Phone ‘Spoofing’ Passes Senate

The State Senate unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Senator Craig Johnson that would protect residents from deception, harassment and possible fraud over the phone lines.

The legislation (S.2753) would outlaw “spoofing,” a practice where telemarketers and others seek to mask their true identity by altering the number that appears on a person’s Caller ID.

This practice has been used to trick people that see a local number on their Caller ID into picking up a call from a solicitor. There has also been at least one documented case where spoofing was used as a harassment tactic. In that circumstance, an individual’s phone number deceptively appeared as the Caller ID location of a widely distributed pre-recorded call, resulting in a mass amount of return phone calls to the unsuspecting victim.

“This practice is used to bring dishonesty into people’s homes,” Senator Johnson said. “In the absence of a federal ban, it is up to us to protect New York residents from this repugnant tactic. I thank my colleagues in the Senate for joining me in this effort.”

Under Senator Johnson’s legislation, violators found to have used spoofing with the Intent to defraud, harass, mislead or cause harm to a person can be liable for a fine up to $100,000.  

The bill passed the Senate 62-0 and was delivered to the Assembly, where it is sponsored by Westchester Assemblyman Adam Bradley, (D-White Plains.)