The Truth in Caller ID Act will prohibit caller ID spoofing, a new method criminals are using to obtain personal information from victims. Caller ID spoofing involves using software to change the name and phone number that appears on a caller ID screen, making the call appear to be coming from a legitimate institution. Criminals have used this method to manipulate a person into releasing their Social Security number or credit information by impersonating a banking or credit institution, reports E-Commerce Times.
"Last year, the New York City Police Department uncovered an identity theft ring, using caller ID spoofing to victimize over 6,000 people out of more than $15 million, ruining the credit of thousands of hard-working Americans. The scariest part is this weapon is available to anybody with a web browser," said the chief sponsor of the bill, Representative Eliot Engel.
The bill provides exceptions to caller ID spoofing in instances where masking the true identity of the caller may be necessary, namely in law enforcement cases. The new bill would give the Federal Communications Commission the authority to regulate and enforce the new law.
The growing rate of identity theft has led to legislation and procedural changes on state and federal levels to protect consumers from the financial ramifications of the crime. Identity theft has grown to incorporate more innovative methods of stealing personal information. Criminals are using social networking sites, email phishing and card skimming to obtain credit card information, PIN and user names and passwords.
Identity theft no longer consists of run-of-the-mill credit fraud, but has expanded to include medical identity theft. The electronic transfer of medical information has made the process of stealing medical and insurance information for the purpose of obtaining health services much easier.
Identity theft can be prevented by better protecting personal information in both an online and real-world setting and monitoring credit reports for suspicious activity. Consumers are also encouraged to avoid giving out personal information over the phone, especially Social Security numbers and credit information. Most legitimate banking and credit institutions will not call and request this information over the phone.