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Bill Proposed in Calif. to Stop ‘Neighbor Spoofing’

A bill has been introduced in the California legislature that would ban the practice of “neighbor spoofing,” where a caller uses a phone number similar to the individual being called in an attempt to increase the likelihood that the individual will pick up the phone.

California SB 208, the Consumer Call Protection Act of 2019, was introduced by Sen. Ben Hueso, a Democrat.

“Scammers use spoofing as a means of ensuring that consumers will answer their calls,” said Sen. Hueso, in a statement. “While consumers may answer these calls expecting to speak with a friend, family member, or local business, they frequently receive an automated message from a robocall system attempting to defraud them and steal personal information.”

The bill would amend the state’s Public Utilities Code to require all telecommunication service providers to implement protocols known as SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) and STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited), to verify and authenticate caller identification for calls placed over an internet protocol network.

“Because of inaction on the federal level, this bill is needed to prevent illegal robocalls and ensure that California can effectively enforce consumer protection laws,” said Sen. Hueso in a statement.

The bill would also empower Public Utilities Commission to work with the Attorney General of California to enforce the law.

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