CITIZEN VOICES® Fines for fake caller ID info?

May 15, 2019

Have you ever received a call from a local telephone number, only to pick up the phone and realize it was an automated telemarketer?

Right now, the Senate is considering HB 577, a bill that would make it illegal to “spoof” a phone number when making a robocall or solicitation call. “Number spoofing” is the term for when a caller fools caller ID systems into thinking they’re calling from somewhere other than where they really are. 

Robocalls with fake caller ID information aren’t just annoying – sometimes they are made by scammers looking to fool victims into giving them money. The bill’s sponsors hope it will combat phone scams in New Hampshire.

This bill would add a new penalty for number spoofing using robotic dialing machines or on calls made for solicitation. Those convicted could face fines of $5,000 per violation, plus any damages from lawsuits.

Is this a federal issue?

Since telecommunications cross state lines, the federal government plays an important role in regulating these sorts of issues. However, states are still able to enforce their own laws about how phones can be used. New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald recently joined other attorneys general urging the U.S. Senate to pass the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. This bill is intended to cut down on the number of illegal robocalls made in the United States. 

Questioning the bill’s effectiveness

Some point out that it’s difficult to tell where spoofed phone calls really came from, and therefore it would be hard to enforce such a law. It is more likely that legitimate organizations like businesses, political parties, and polling organizations that use number spoofing to get through to individuals will be the ones most impacted by the bill.

Helping technology

At a hearing for HB 577, Assistant Attorney General Greg Albert testified that new technology is coming that could make it much easier for New Hampshire to enforce HB 577.  

He testified that the New Hampshire attorney general would focus on prosecuting call sources that have the most victims in New Hampshire.

Have you ever received a call from a local telephone number, only to pick up the phone and realize it was an automated telemarketer?

Right now, the Senate is considering HB 577, a bill that would make it illegal to “spoof” a phone number when making a robocall or solicitation call. “Number spoofing” is the term for when a caller fools caller ID systems into thinking they’re calling from somewhere other than where they really are.

Robocalls with fake caller ID information aren’t just annoying – sometimes they are made by scammers looking to fool victims into giving them money. The bill’s sponsors hope it will combat phone scams in New Hampshire. This bill would add a new penalty for number spoofing using robotic dialing machines or on calls made for solicitation. Those convicted could face fines of $5,000 per violation, plus any damages from lawsuits.

Is this a federal issue?

Since telecommunications cross state lines, the federal government plays an important role in regulating these sorts of issues. However, states are still able to enforce their own laws about how phones can be used. New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald recently joined other attorneys general urging the U.S. Senate to pass the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. This bill is intended to cut down on the number of illegal robocalls made in the United States.

Questioning the bill’s effectiveness

Some point out that it’s difficult to tell where spoofed phone calls really came from, and therefore it would be hard to enforce such a law. It is more likely that legitimate organizations like businesses, political parties, and polling organizations that use number spoofing to get through to individuals will be the ones most impacted by the bill. Helping technology Assistant Attorney General Greg Albert testified that new technology is coming that could make it much easier for New Hampshire to enforce HB 577. He testified that the New Hampshire attorney general would focus on prosecuting call sources that have the most victims in New Hampshire.

Should New Hampshire make it illegal to use a fake caller ID number for telemarketing purposes?

Responses to this question may be shared with legislators debating this issue. Only responses from people living in New Hampshire would be included in any report to legislators.

Have Your Say

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Comments

Jennifer Larain
- Peterborough

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 3:32pm

I’ve HAD it with late night calls that appear to be local; I’m always concerned it’s a friend in need - only to find out it’s a telemarketer. More money should be spent on Government? No, protect your citizens! It’d be nice to be able to tell them they’re violating a Federal law and could be fined $5,000.00. Perhaps then they'd stop calling!

Susan Rogers
- Alton Bay

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 2:13pm

Usually I'm all about less government and restrictions, but this I'm absolutely on board with. I don't know if passing legislation would actually change the current situation, but I've HAD it with telemarketers' robo-calls and scammers using fake or inscrutable Caller IDs.

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