Proposal could ban caller ID spoofing of robocalls and robotexts

The Federal Communications Commission is looking at banning foreign scam robocalls and robotexts through proposed new rules.

Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed adoption of new rules that would ban malicious caller ID spoofing of text messages and international calls.

“Scammers often robocall us from overseas, and when they do, they typically spoof their numbers to try and trick consumers,” said Pai.  “Call center fraudsters often pretend to be calling from trusted organizations and use pressure tactics to steal from Americans. We must attack this problem with every tool we have.  With these new rules, we’ll close the loopholes that hamstring law enforcement when they try to pursue international scammers and scammers using text messaging.” 

The proposal stems from a bipartisan statement from more than 40 attorneys general asking for the FCC to adopt the new anti-spoofing rules, according to an FCC news release. 

“The proposed rule changes would broaden the authority of the Commission to hold these criminals accountable for the significant harm they inflict on U.S. consumers,” reads a portion of the letter, which adds that spoofing via text message is becoming more popular. 

The FCC received more than 35,000 complaints about caller ID spoofing in the first six months of 2019 alone, according to the Commission. 

The SCV sheriff’s deputies have reported an uptick in calls where residents fall victim to scammers who say they call from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, often with spoofed phone numbers. In one case, a local victim paid over $4,000 in Google Play Cards as a result of the scam, according to the sheriff’s station in an informative Facebook post in March. 

Regardless of the type of scam, sheriff’s Lt. Ignacio Somoano advises residents not to “take every phone call to be 100% legitimate. Any time someone gets a call for personal information or money, we recommend to take down their information and say you’ll follow up with them.” 

The Commission is set to vote on the proposed rules at its Aug. 1 meeting.

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