Senator Johnson's Legislation to Protect NY State Residents From Phone 'Spoofing' Passes Senate

Craig M. Johnson

March 11, 2010

The State Senate today unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Senator Craig M. Johnson, (D-Nassau), that would protect residents from deception, harassment and possible fraud over the phone lines. 

The legislation (S.2753A) 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 repugnant and unacceptable tactic has been used to bring deceit and harassment into people's homes,” Senator Johnson said. “In the absence of a federal ban, we need an updated state law that will protect New York residents from this intrusion. I encourage the Assembly to join us and take up this very important legislation.” 

The practice of “spoofing” 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. 

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.