Last week, President Obama signed into law the “Truth in Caller ID Act,” which prohibits the practice of providing false caller ID information in order to deceive the call recipient (better known as caller ID “spoofing”). Specifically, the Act prohibits the use of “misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value[.]” The Act amends section 227 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. § 227) and gives the FCC six months to create implementing regulations. Violators of the statute could face civil forfeiture penalties or, if the violation is willful and knowing, criminal fines and even jail time.
“Truth in Caller ID” appears to be part of a larger government effort to reign in caller ID abuses that have grown more prevalent as the service has become more widely used to avoid telemarketing calls. As we discussed in a previous post, the FTC currently is considering whether to strengthen its rules requiring telemarketers to disclose their identities through caller ID.