On or about July 15, 2015, United States Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced a bill entitled The Phone Scam Prevention Act (the “Bill”). According to the Bill’s sponsors, the legislation is intended to “crack down” on phone scammers who falsify caller ID information.

How Does the Phone Scam Prevention Act differ from the Truth in Caller-ID Act?

Senate Introduces Phone Scam Prevention Act

The Bill’s sponsors have stated that the new legislation will build on the Truth in Caller-ID Act (“TICIDA”). TICIDA was signed into law in 2010 and prohibits falsifying caller ID numbers when done to defraud or otherwise harm consumers. The Bill differs from TICIDA in that it will require the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to detail where consumers can access technology to combat scams, establish a plan to develop caller-ID authentication standards, and extend the prohibition on caller-ID spoofing to include telephone calls and text messages that originate in foreign countries.

Senator Nelson introduced a similar bill before Congress on November 20, 2014. The earlier version of the Bill provided that the FCC would develop “authentication standards for providers of a voice service to validate the calling party number and caller identification information of a call originated through a voice service so that the subscriber receiving the call may obtain” accurate information about the caller. Thereafter, according to the 2014 version of the Bill, “[e]ach provider of a voice service that is allocated telephone numbers from the portion of the North American Numbering Plan that pertains to the United States shall adopt the authentication standards developed” by the FCC under the Bill.

The 2014 version of the Bill also sought to expand coverage of the Communications Act of 1934 from just “telecommunications service or IP-enabled voice service” to “any service that furnishes voice communications to an end user using resources from the North American Numbering Plan or any successor plan” adopted by the FCC.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the 2015 version of the Bill and provide updates.