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Story Archives: Riser looks to stop spoofing
|Riser looks to stop spoofing|
State Senator Neil Riser is working to create a new law intended to help stop "spoofing" from becoming a criminal tool.
Spoofing is a technology-based system, available on Internet websites, of changing telephone numbers to create a fake caller identification.
Sites which provide such services say they are intended, "for entertainment purposes."
Sen. Riser and his staff see things differently.
"The opportunities for criminal use are plenty," Riser said.
"We need to alert folks to the possible misuse of this technology.
"For example, it could be set so that your bank showed up on your caller ID. And, somebody could say the bank needed some of your personal information, or needed to confirm you account number. A lot of people would believe the bank was calling, because their Caller ID would says so," Riser suggested.
Riser and his staff are working to have a bill for consideration when the State Legislature convenes in April.
The bill will be offered, Riser said, as part of the Consumer Protection Act in Louisiana.
Congress has held hearings on Caller ID spoofing, but has shown little interest, according to a leading news agency report.
Despite the fact that legal opinions hold that Caller ID issues fall under federal control, several states have introduced bills to control the practice.
In Alaska, a state representative has a bill which would make spoofing a misdemeanor.
In Pennsylvania, a U. S. Representative was targeted during a political campaigned with bad-mouth calls to voters which were programmed to appear to come from his own office.
"In Louisiana, most people have not even heard of this, "Riser said. "When we first started looking into this practice, we had to do a lot of fast research.
"The fact that a lot of people don't know about it makes the need to protect our consumers more urgent," Riser said. "They've got to be made aware of the possible misuses of this technology."
Basically, the technology includes the purchase of a virtual calling card that provides a given number of minutes of talk time. The user dials in a call-free number and enters two numbers: the one he wants to call and the number he wants the call to be shown on the Caller ID. Other services may be offered, such as recording or voice disguising.
Riser said that while entire Internet blogs are devoted to stories of jokes, or pranks, pulled while using spoofing cards, the potential for criminal use is still uncontrolled.
One security specialist said spoofing cards are often used by people who buy stolen credit card numbers. They then call a service such as Western Union, setting the ID caller to the card holder's home, and use the card number to order cash transfers which they then pick up.
Spoofing services web sites say they are legal. But some caution restrictions by states.
Says one website: 'Each of the capabilities of...is legal in the US. However, certain uses may be illegal depending on which state you are calling from or to. For example, a handful of states have passed laws that make it illegal to spoof caller ID for certain purposes, such as to 'mislead, defraud or deceive the recipient of a telephone call'"
Riser said he would make provision of his legislative proposal more public in the near future.