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Missouri Senate passes bill targeting fake caller IDs

March 5, 2020 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are stepping up the state’s efforts to try to stop fake phone calls.

Legislation passed Thursday by the Senate would prohibit “call spoofing,” in which telemarketers mask their true identities by displaying a false phone number or name on a caller identification system. The goal typically is to trick people into answering a call they might otherwise ignore.

If also passed by the House, the measure would expand upon an existing state law that prohibits solicitors to residential phone customers from blocking or circumventing a caller identification service.

The federal and state governments both maintain no-call lists, which allow people to make their phone numbers off-limits to many telemarketers. Missouri’s list has more than 4.3 million phone numbers on it.

A separate bill that has cleared a House committee would expand Missouri’s no-call list to include business phone numbers. It also would allow recipients of call spoofing to sue the callers for actual damages and punitive damages of up to $5,000 per call.