Scammers who use a fake caller ID now face harsher punishment thanks to a new Tennessee law.
The new legislation hopes to crack down on a practice known as caller ID spoofing, which is now classified as a Class A misdemeanor. It involves sending inaccurate or misleading caller ID information with the intent to defraud, harm or steal. That could mean up to a $10,000 penalty per violation.
Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said, "These new protections give law enforcement more ways to punish perpetrators and, hopefully, prevent scammers from hurting our senior population."
Even though scammers will face harsher punishments, the TDCI said it's important to be watchful of the warning signs of a scam.
- Don't answer the phone if your number shows up on your phone's Caller ID.
- Don't attempt to call the number back, and do not press any buttons if prompted.
- If you do answer the call, don't give out your personal or financial information. Never give your personal information over the phone to someone you don't know.
- If you believe you're the victim of an ID Spoofing scam, call TDCI's Division of Consumer Affairs at (615) 741-4737 or file a complaint online.
- If you lost money on a scam as a result of ID Spoofing, immediately report the theft to your local police or sheriff's department.
Remember, it is your phone and you don't have to answer your phone if you don't want to.