The House of Representatives on Monday easily passed legislation aimed at preventing telemarketers from disguising their caller ID in an effort to evade law enforcement or trick consumers.

The Anti-Spoofing Act, H.R. 2669, passed in a 382-5 vote after a debate in which lawmakers agreed that telemarketers need to face tougher rules.

The bipartisan bill was introduced by Reps. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., Joe Barton, R-Texas, Leonard Lance, R-N.J., and is an amendment to the Communications Act of 1934. It was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in late September, and targets spoofers who try to mask their identification through text messages, which is not covered by current law.

It also expands the scope of offenders to those who make calls from outside the United States to target someone within the country. Current anti-spoofing laws only apply to those making calls from within the U.S., and the new bill would broaden the ability of law enforcement to target overseas offenders.

“The scammer may be posing as an IRS agent, a police officer, or a representative from another governmental agency,” Lance said on the House floor prior to the vote. “To date, hundreds of thousands … have been defrauded, including veterans, immigrants and senior citizens.”

“The problem has gotten out of control. Millions of Americans continue to get ripped off by con artists and scammers who perpetrate this despicable crime. This disgraceful practice must end,” Lance continued, adding that since the issue was brought up in 2014, “it appears that the problem has gone from a nuisance to a borderline epidemic.”

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., has introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate, the Spoofing Prevention Act, S. 2558, which is expected to get attention in the lame-duck session.

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11/14/16 6:01 PM

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