If you are like most people, you probably rarely answer any of your phones without first checking the caller ID number. Telemarketers have clearly noticed this and some are now engaging in caller ID spoofing where they alter the name or number that shows up on your caller ID display.

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Under a bill that cleared the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee on Dec. 4, the practice would be outlawed.

"It's not only annoying, it places people's information at risk and they (telemarketers) could easily defraud someone," said bill co-sponsor Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia (D-Hoboken). "They're just scam artists and unfortunately many of them have really mastered the ability to do this."

Caller ID spoofing can make a call appear to come from any phone number the caller wants. A 2013 report to the U.S. Senate on ID spoofing noted that the practice has been used to access personal information from those who receive the calls and to dupe law enforcement into responding to what they believed was a legitimate call for help.

"This bill will help protect consumers from unscrupulous individuals who are looking to defraud them. The message we're sending is that these unwanted phone calls that we use our caller ID to filer shouldn't be tampered with," Garcia said.

The legislation, called the "Truth in Caller Identification Act," would make it illegal for anyone in connection with any telecommunications service within New Jersey to knowingly cause any telephone caller identification service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information.

Violators would face a fine of up to $10,000 for a first offense.

The bill allows for two exemptions: any authorized activity of a law enforcement agency or a court order that specifically authorizes the use of caller ID manipulation.

The legislation doesn't prevent or restrict any person from blocking the capability of any caller ID service to transmit caller ID information.