HR 5126, Truth in Caller ID Act of 2006, is in the first stages of consideration by Congress, referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.and the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. The sponsor, Joe Barton, launched his campaign with a press release explaining the manipulation of caller id, which was timed to the subcommittee hearing.
This bill is necessary to shut down the growing problem of manipulating caller ID information. Caller ID ‘spoofing’ occurs when a caller masquerades as someone else by falsifying the number that appears on the recipient’s caller ID display.
However, it appears that a mismatch between the originating telephone number and that which appears on a calller id box has not emerged as a problem requiring federal legislation. Barton’s example underscores this point.
Everyone is familiar with the caller ID product that provides to a consumer the name and number of who is placing an incoming call. Unfortunately, caller ID spoofing is yet another tool available to criminals to hijack the identity of consumers. For instance, the AARP recently ran a ‘scam alert’ when someone posing to be a courthouse employee called a Sterling, Mich. woman claiming that she had missed jury duty that week. The caller threatened that a warrant was being issued for her arrest and then asked her to confirm her Social Security number, to verify her identity. This scam can appear even more real when the con artist uses a caller ID ‘spoofing’ product which allows the con to display the name and number of the courthouse on the caller ID box.
This law is aimed at the commercial uses of technology that changes the name and number that displays on the caller id screen. There is inadvertent telephone number altering that occurs when receiving calls from some cell phones which don’t display the exact originating number. Also, 3-way calling, one of the myriad telephone carrier products, will indicate a landline number on caller id linked to a location other than the one associated with the calling party. Police departments are familiar with this problem, which is significant in an emergency situation. This legislation won’t squeeze the telecommunication companies.