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New bill would make it illegal for spoofing calls to have use misleading phone numbers

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A new bill in the Michigan Senate would make it illegal for fraud calls to present a misleading number on caller ID.

Under the bill, fraud calls using a misleading number would be punishable by up to six years in prison and/or a ten $10,000 fine.

Republican State Senator Jim Runestad introduced the measure. He said many spoof calls will use fake numbers that look like they come from a similar area code as the person being called.

“The purpose of that is you want the person to pick it up thinking it is a local call,” he said.

Runestad added that the calls are getting sophisticated.

“They also are getting sophisticated enough to use your cell phone number or vice versa so you think it’s a family member calling. It’s very sophisticated in how they are getting people to pick up the phone.”

Runestad said the federal government doesn’t have the manpower to go after spoofing calls - but local law enforcement does.

“This will give them much more tools to go after these phone operators as well.”

Runestad said many states are passing similar legislation. He said it will make it easier to go after perpetrators in other states who are committing phone fraud.

According to Runestad, the number one complaint to the Federal Communications Commission is spoofing calls that appear to come from local numbers.