California cracks down on phishing

December 30, 2005 6:56am

•  Scam prosecution one of many new laws taking effect

•  Elder abuse also targeted

Legislation that will protect California consumers from identity theft and increase penalties for spam goes into effect next week.

One new law, SB355 by Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles) makes the practice of Internet “phishing” a crime in California.

“Phishing” is practiced by Internet hackers who use e-mail to hook consumers into giving them personal information such as Social Security numbers or credit card numbers. This information is then used to defraud consumers.

Another new law, SB97 by Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles) provides that a person who violates California’s anti-spam law by sending unsolicited commercial electronic mail (“spam”) has committed a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment in a county jail for not more than six months, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

The problems of elder abuse are addressed in two new laws.

SB1018 by Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) is designed to help protect California’s elderly and dependent adults from financial abuse. The law will assist in reducing the number of financial abuse incidents against elder and dependent adults by requiring employees of banks, savings associations and credit unions to be mandated reporters of suspected financial abuse.

AB179 by Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez (D-Norwalk) ensures that consumers are provided with essential information on who to contact concerning incidents of elder abuse by requiring that the personal rights form for residential care facilities for the elderly include details on how to report elder abuse, the toll-free number of the California Long-Term Care Ombudsman and that the personal rights form be included as part of a facilities admission agreement.

“After much hard work, negotiation and compromise, I am proud of what the Legislature and I have been able to accomplish this year,” says Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a written statement.

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