The U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation this week to crack down on scam artists who falsify their Caller ID information to trick unsuspecting victims, a practice known as "spoofing."
The bill, sponsored by Senators Bill Nelson of Florida and Deb Fischer of Nebraska, strengthens a law passed in 2010 that prohibits scammers from altering the Caller ID information on calls made in the U.S.
The legislation passed by the Senate expands that prohibition to spoofing using text messages, calls made over the Internet and calls originating from a foreign country.
The measure also directs the Federal Communications Commission to publish information on its website to help consumers protect themselves from these spoofing scams.
And it calls on the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study of the federal government's efforts to combat the practice of spoofing and identify any additional measures that may be needed.
Nelson observed that fighting scam artists is like "playing a game of Whac-A-Mole."
"Once you think you've stopped them, they find other ways to continue to carry out their scams," he said.
The Senators backing this bill say they hope it will better enable the government to punish fraudsters who use new technologies to pray on unsuspecting victims.
Other sponsors of the legislation include Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.
The U.S. House passed similar legislation in January.