Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D. C. 20554
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
June 23, 2011
Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253
Consumers Gain New Protections Against Fraudulent Caller ID "Spoofing"
Violators Face Substantial Fines
Washington, D.C. Consumers have gained new protections against fraudulent and deceptive use of
caller ID services under new rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission today.
Increasingly, bad actors are altering or manipulating caller ID information--known as caller ID
spoofing--to further a wide variety of malicious schemes, from identity theft to placing false emergency
calls to SWAT teams. Using spoofing services accessible through the web or prepaid cards, anyone can
inexpensively mask the origin of a call with fake caller identification information.
Last year, in response to malicious caller ID spoofing, Congress passed and President Obama signed into
law the Truth in Caller ID Act, which prohibited caller ID spoofing with harmful or fraudulent intent and
directed the FCC to adopt rules implementing the Act.
Under the FCC's new rules:
Violators are subject to up to $10,000 for each violation, or three times that amount for each day
of continuing violation, to a maximum of $1 million for any continuing violation
The FCC may assess fines against entities it does not traditionally regulate without first issuing a
The FCC can impose penalties more readily than it can under other provisions of the
Under the Act, callers are still permitted to alter caller ID information if their purposes are not harmful or
fraudulent. For example, domestic violence shelters may have important reasons for not revealing the
actual number of the shelter, and doctors responding to after-hours messages from patients may choose to
transmit their office numbers rather than their cell phone numbers.
As directed by the Truth in Caller ID Act, the Chairman is also issuing a report to Congress addressing
areas where the statute and the Commission's rules may fall short of protecting consumers from harmful
caller ID spoofing. The report also discusses several newer types of communications services, including
text messaging and social media, and identifies spoofing issues that may arise in conjunction with these
The FCC also provided a report to Congress on the issue.
Action by the Commission, June 20, 2011, by Report and Order (FCC 11-100).
Docket No.: 11-39
Wireline Competition Bureau Staff Contact: Lisa Hone at 202-418-0869
News about the Federal Communications Commission can also be found
on the Commission's web site www.fcc.gov.