Even though there are plenty of email and Internet-based scams out there, plenty of scam artists still use old-fashioned telephones to ensnare their victims.
In fact, one particular type of (usually) phone-operated scam is called the “grandma scam” or “grandparent scam” because its stereotypical victim is an elderly person tricked into sending money to a con artist. The victim is often called by someone pretending to be a beloved grandchild who is in trouble.
One reason it's so difficult to crack down on phone scammers is that current technology arguably gives them an advantage over their victims. For example, spoofing tools make it very easy for scammers to send fake identifying information to a victim's caller ID.
Granted, spoofing caller ID for the specific purpose of committing fraud has been illegal since the 2010 Truth in Caller ID Act, but that doesn't help victims who have been defrauded and don't know how to identify the scammer.
So this week, Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Bill Nelson of Florida introduced a new piece of legislation called the Phone Scam Prevention Act.
According to a press release by Klobuchar's office, the new law would build on the Truth in Caller ID Act by “requiring the FCC to detail where consumers can access technology to combat scams, establish a plan to develop caller ID authentication standards, and extend the prohibition on caller ID spoofing to include calls from abroad and text messaging services.”