Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-New City) filed a complaint Wednesday with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on behalf of several Rockland residents who have been victims of “Caller ID phone spoofing.”
Phone spoofing is the use of software to mask the caller’s identity or phone number by displaying a different number on the recipient’s caller ID. Telemarketers and scammers often use the practice to circumvent the “Do Not Call” registry.
All of the alleged phone spoofing calls were made to phone numbers included on the Do Not Call registry, which was created to protect consumers from unwanted calls. Zebrowski sent detailed complaints from two county residents to the FCC.
Zebrowski said the spoofing software enables individuals to circumvent the Do Not Call registry and defraud or harass unsuspecting residents. The numbers that are displayed on the recipient’s caller ID typically do not exist.
According to Zebrowski, despite enactment of The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 incidents of phone spoofing continue and the ability to track down the offenders is growing more difficult. The law prohibits caller ID spoofing with intent to defraud and carries penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.
Zebrowski asked the FCC to investigate the allegations and take enforcement action against those responsible.
“We need to make sure that the law encompasses all illegal activities involving phone spoofing including harassment and Do Not Call registry violations,” stated Zebrowski. “I asked the FCC to do a thorough investigation into the phone spoofing complaints and if this can be addressed on the State level, I am willing to introduce legislation.”
According to Zebrowski’s office, the federal law may not be appropriately enforced or it may not be comprehensive enough.
“I urge all residents to take caution when receiving calls from unknown phone numbers and anyone who has been victim of this practice should file a complaint with the FCC,” said Zebrowski, adding his office should also be notified.
Residents who have received these types of calls can file an online complaint for “Telemarketing, Prerecorded Message, Caller ID Spoofing and Do Not Call” with the FCC at www.fcc.gov/complaints or contact the agency at 888-225-5322. Zebrowski’s office can be reached at 845-634-9791.