Wisconsin lawmakers introduce a bill to crack down on “spoofing” scam calls

By Rashad Williams, WAOW

WAUSAU, Wis. (WOAW) — Wisconsin lawmakers introduced the “2019 Senate Bill” which will aim to combat unwanted spam and spoofing scam calls.

“Spoofing is grabbing someone else’s phone number and pretending it’s your own to make it look more local,” said Rep. Bob Kulp.

“People will receive these unsolicited telephone calls from robocallers and telemarketers,” said Rep. Katrina Shankland. “And what they’ll do is display a false phone number on someone’s caller id so people are more likely to pick up.”

Under the bill, anyone charged with using misleading or inaccurate caller id information can face a fine up to $10,000.

“They’ll see a 715 number and think oh it’s my friend and they’ll answer and it’s somebody else,” said Rep. Shankland.

“You pick it up and it’s somebody from either out of state or out of country somewhere that is trying to sell you something,” said Rep. Kulp. “A timeshare or financing, or paying off your student loans, or any number of things.”

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said unwanted spam calls are the number one complained about issue in Wisconsin.

Officials say scammers pretend to be relatives, friends, and even WPS employees who demand money in a certain amount of time or threaten to cut off all services.

“They say you’ve got 20 mins or 45 mins to pay us for your bill or we’re going to disconnect you,” said Wisconsin Public Service Local Affairs Kelly Zagrzebski. “When you do get a phone call that says they’re from the utility company and that they’re going to disconnect your power, that’s kind of a scary call to hear. Just ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Zagrzebski also said if you think you’re being scammed by someone pretending to be a WPS employee or any type of scam, you should hang up and call the business directly to confirm the legitimacy of the call.

If you believe you’ve been scammed, you should report it to The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection at 1-800-422-7128 or go to https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Homepage.aspx