Responding to numerous reports of scammers “spoofing” the phone numbers of law enforcement in Nassau County and elsewhere, Senator Anna M. Kaplan has introduced legislation, S.6920, to criminalize the practice.
“Scammers are pulling out all the stops to take advantage of vulnerable New Yorkers, and we need to make sure the law keeps up with their tactics so they can be brought to justice,” said Kaplan. “Pretending to be a law enforcement officer with a spoofed phone number is a new low that doesn’t only hurt the victim, it hurts the ability of law enforcement to maintain a level of trust when contacting members of the public.”
Section one of the bill, S.6920, creates the crime of spoofing a police agency in the second degree, a class A misdemeanor, when a person with intent to defraud another person, or to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, places a telephone call whereby the ID displays a phone number of a police agency, district attorney’s office or any other law enforcement agency.
Section two creates the crime of spoofing a police agency in the first degree, a Class E felony, which is when a person commits the same crime after having been previously convicted of spoofing a police agency within the last ten years.
The bill will be considered by the Senate Rules Committee when the legislature returns to session in 2020, and Kaplan intends to prioritize its passage.
“We must work to ensure that communication from our law enforcement is not fabricated or used to defraud the public, so that they can do their jobs without interference, and so that the public can be confident that they aren’t being scammed when they get a call from law enforcement,” Kaplan concluded.
Story submitted by Senator Anna M. Kaplan.