Rice offers bipartisan bill to fight robocall scams

To combat the rise in new phone, text and email scams used by robocallers seeking to trick or frighten American consumers into sharing personal information and financial details, U.S. Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) on Dec. 16 introduced the bipartisan Anti-Spoofing Penalties Modernization Act of 2021.  

“Robocallers prey on elderly and innocent Americans with elaborate schemes to access financial information,” Rep. Rice said. “The legislation I’ve introduced today will crack down on these scammers and ensure the penalties for illegal spoofing are just.”

If enacted, H.R. 6320, which is cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA), would double the penalties for illegal caller-ID “spoofing,” a tactic used to trick victims into answering their phone calls, specifically increasing the fine per violation from $10,000 to $20,000 and raising the maximum fine from $1 million to $2 million, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Rice’s staff. 

H.R. 6320 is a companion bill to the same-named S. 594, introduced in March by U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to double the penalties for providing misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, according to the congressional record bill summary.

H.R. 6320 has been referred to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration, while S. 594 was reported out of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Dec. 17 and awaits action by the full Senate.