By Bob Katzen

The Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee held a virtual hearing on a bill that would prohibit “spoofing,” a practice used by telemarketing companies to have a phony telephone number show up on a consumer’s Caller ID. The company’s intent is to deceive, defraud or obtain anything of value, including financial resources or personal identifying information, from the consumer. Current law only prohibits the telemarketers from preventing their phone number from appearing on Caller ID but doesn’t address the legitimacy of the phone number that appears on Caller ID.

Sponsor Sen. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) said it is becoming common practice for telemarketers to mask their telephone numbers with the consumer’s number and/or intentionally use a device to change the name or telephone number on a Caller ID display. “Despite our best efforts to avoid unwanted phone calls from telemarketers – including signing up on the federally funded Do Not Call List – it all too often feels like these solicitations will never stop,” said DiZoglio. “In fact, despite its efforts to combat robocalls, the Federal Trade Commission has noted a recent dramatic increase in the number of these calls, as internet-powered phone systems have made it easy for scammers to target people from anywhere across the globe. A common practice for telemarketers is masking their telephone numbers with the phone number of the person they are calling.”

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