As Attorney General, John Adams will protect consumers and crack down on fraudsters. Every day, scammers bombard Virginians with seemingly legitimate phone calls in the hope that you will pick up. Scammers know many people screen their phone calls. So they have turned to an increasingly common and effective fraud tactic known as caller ID “spoofing.”
Spoofing occurs when callers hide their identity by tricking your phone into displaying false caller ID information. Scammers use spoofing to impersonate the government, legitimate businesses, or local, familiar telephone numbers. They might even use your own number. The goal of spoofing is to increase the chance you will pick up and fall victim to the scam.
Mark Herring does not appear to take this very seriously. In July 2017, 30 attorneys general sent the Federal Communications Commission a letter calling for greater efforts to combat robocalls and spoofing. Herring refused to join them. As Attorney General, Adams will fight phone scammers with all the legal tools at his disposal.
Both federal and Virginia law already ban spoofing. The federal Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 makes it illegal to use spoofing for fraudulent or otherwise harmful purposes. Most importantly, alongside federal enforcement, the Act also empowers states to fight spoofing through civil lawsuits against scammers in federal court. Adams will aggressively pursue such enforcement actions to protect the Commonwealth’s citizens.
Virginia law also includes a number of powerful tools to fight phone scammers. The Telephone Privacy Protection Act bans spoofing by requiring solicitors to transmit accurate caller ID information. State law also bans harassing robocalls that use recorded messages without the recipient’s consent. Finally, the Virginia Consumer Protection Act bans fraud-motivated spoofing connected to consumer transactions.
As Attorney General, Adams will vigorously enforce all of these laws and work to end these phone calls.