In the News

Robocalls that pretend to be from someone you know are now officially illegal in N.H.

Dec 31, 2019 Concord Monitor

A new state law imposes civil penalties of up to $5,000 for calls that pretend to be coming from a different number, such as somebody on your phone contact list or a familiar-looking number that begins with 603. This practice is known as spoofing and used by scammers and unscrupulous marketers to fool people into answering their calls.

Realistically the law is unlikely to have much effect, since the state can prosecute only calls that originate within New Hampshire, but it’s indicative of a push to use laws and technology to throttle the tidal wave of spoofed robocalls that is inundating the phone system.

“It’s not going to be an easy law to enforce, but let’s start with at least a  law,” said Rep. David Luneau, D-Hopkinton, the main sponsor of the bill that strengthens an existing law, RSA 359-E. “It’s part of a larger, more national initiative to go after these sort of practices.”

The new law covers robocalls and calls “for solicitation,” which includes calls from political campaigns, but does not cover individuals making calls via spoofing apps or other methods. Some groups, such as advocates for survivors of domestic abuse, say that individual call spoofing can be an important safety tool.