(TRENTON) – After New Jersey residents received misleading calls from a falsified source last year, Assembly Democrats Eric Houghtaling, Joann Downey and Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored legislation making it a consumer fraud act violation to “spoof” a call or text by intentionally altering a recipient’s caller ID information to reflect false or misleading origins.
The inciting incident took place in 2018 when Monmouth County residents received a call from what appeared to be Houghtaling and Downey’s offices, that actually originated from an outside source using “spoofing” tactics to register the caller ID as District 11’s legislative offices.
Under the bill (A-5520), a fine for a first time offense could cost the fraudulent sender up to $10,000, who might also be held liable for damages.
In response to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee advancing the bill, the sponsors issued the following statements:
“By displaying our office’s information on the caller ID, my constituents were led to believe I supported a message I did not agree with in any way. I sponsored this legislation to help ensure New Jersey residents never again receive calls with false information or opinions from outside sources claiming to represent someone they are not,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth).
“Last year’s detrimental incident demonstrated just how important it is to prevent communication from taking place under false pretenses. Falsifying the origins of a call can lead to the spread of misinformation and increase the chances of a recipient being scammed. People need to know where their calls and texts are coming from so they can make accurately informed decisions,” said Downey (D-Monmouth).
“With more than 65 million robocall scams attempted each day throughout the country, this is a problem that impacts everyone in our state — especially seniors. This bill will help tackle the epidemic by showing just how seriously we take this issue,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen).