By Tony Romm - 04/14/10 05:53 PM EDT
House lawmakers on Wednesday approved a bill that would crack down on businesses or scammers who falsify their caller ID data in the hope that unsuspecting customers will answer their phones.
That legislation, piloted by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), easily cleared the lower chamber this afternoon by a voice vote. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it seems likely to pass.
Engel's legislation, the Truth in Caller ID Act, is an attempt to stamp out the practice of "caller ID spoofing," which a handful of lawmakers have attributed to a recent rise in telephone scams.
At the same time, it carves out a key exception for law enforcement agents who "spoof" their caller information in order to deceive suspected criminals and further their investigations. That guarantee arrives at the beckoning of a handful of Republicans and Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who would have blocked the bill if it did not include that condition.