Washington, Mar 28 (PTI) A legislation to combat spoofing — a scheme in which the origin of a phone call is hidden or misrepresented — has been signed into law in the US.

The Indian Embassy in Washington DC has been a major victim of spoofing calls, of late.

The legislation, which was signed into law as part of the omnibus spending bill, would crack down on criminals who engage in spoofing.

Congresswoman Grace Meng, author of the legislation, which was tagged along the Omnibus Spending Bill, said, in spoofing the crooks call unsuspecting victims and falsely claim they’re from from a financial institution, police department or government agency.

“They then steal their money by convincing them to wire cash or provide bank account or personal information,” she said.

Meng said spoofing had been one of the fastest growing forms of fraud in America.

“But the enactment of my Anti-Spoofing Act will provide new and critical tools to stop those who perpetrate this deceitful and malicious crime,” Meng said.

“Finally, we can fight back against these unconscionable thieves who for too long have preyed on unwitting consumers including the most vulnerable in our society such as immigrants and the elderly,” she said.

Meng said the legislation would make spoofing attempts from abroad a criminal act. Presently, spoofing to defraud Americans is not against the law if the calls originate from outside the US.

It will also expand spoofing protections to cover text messaging and internet-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services that enable individuals to make calls from computers and tablets.

In addition, the legislation would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to regularly update education materials that help consumers identify and protect themselves from caller ID scams.

The Congresswoman first sponsored anti-spoofing legislation after receiving spoofing complaints from local seniors and the ‘Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET),’ a civic organisation in her district in Queens, New York.

COMET President Roe Daraio congratulated Meng on the legislation’s signing into law.

“It will help deter con artists from posing as the IRS, banks and other entities, and stop them from stealing cash or identities from unsuspecting victims. Hopefully, this enacted legislation will put an end to this activity once and for all,” Daraio said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.