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United States CDA News

Phishers Face Jail Time Under New U.S. Bill 262

An anonymous reader writes "Democrat Patrick Leahy has introduced a new federal anti-phishing bill that would impose jail terms up to five years and fines up to $250,000 for criminals creating fake web site designed to con consumers in to giving them their personal information. 'Some phishers can be prosecuted under wire fraud or identity theft statutes, but often these prosecutions take place only after someone has been defrauded - that leaves plenty of time to cover their tracks. Traditional wire fraud and identity theft statutes are not sufficient to respond to phishing.' said Leahy in a statement regarding the Anti-Phishing Act of 2005."
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Phishers Face Jail Time Under New U.S. Bill

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  • Phishing Bill Issues (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gallenod ( 84385 ) on Friday March 04, 2005 @09:21AM (#11843312)
    This is a first shot across the bow. The bill will probably undgergo substantial debate and amendment as it moves through Congress, but I expect this has a chance to become law.

    I've met Sen. Leahy. He's an old-school Vermont Democrat who's held pretty much every state-level elected office except governor and lieutenant governor. I've had a couple of e-mail exchanges with him on CAN-SPAM. When that law first passed, he was cautiously backing it as a reasonable first step. He's realized lately, however, that it's been largely ineffective. The anti-phishing bill is his first real leading charge at cyber-scamming and it reflects some of his earlier frustration with Congress's inability to deal effectively with Internet issues.

    (Or much else, in many people's opinion.)

    Leahy ruffled some feathers in the online community by supporting RIAA-sponsored legislation on copyrights. It's possible this is a canny political attempt to balance the books a bit. Then again, he's a decent guy with 80% support in a state that's 33% Republican. Even in the minority, he's got a lot of clout. On this issue he'll probably get bi-partisan support, so it's likely this bill will, in some form, eventualy become law.

    Besides, anyone high on Dick Cheney's hate list can't be all bad.
  • by the-ghoul ( 630892 ) on Friday March 04, 2005 @09:22AM (#11843316)
    Are most if not nearly all perps of this this non US based? Last time I looked, the scammers were mostly from Nigeria right?
  • by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <mindstalker@gmai l . com> on Friday March 04, 2005 @10:06AM (#11843606) Journal
    Current law requires there to be victims. So if you are unsuccesful or they simply can't find your victims, they could not arrest you under current law. Of course there are laws like trademark infringment but that would require the cooperation of the people you are copying.
  • by RaZ0r ( 145723 ) on Friday March 04, 2005 @10:31AM (#11843811) Homepage
    because a large percentage of this fraud is originating outside of the USA.

    How is the US Goverment going to press charges when its occuring out of its jurisdiction?

    Just my 2c...

  • by geoffspear ( 692508 ) * on Friday March 04, 2005 @10:50AM (#11843979) Homepage
    Anti-phishing Act of 2005 (Introduced in Senate)

    S 472 IS

    109th CONGRESS

    1st Session

    S. 472

    To criminalize Internet scams involving fraudulently obtaining personal information, commonly known as phishing .


    February 28, 2005

    Mr. LEAHY introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

    A BILL

    To criminalize Internet scams involving fraudulently obtaining personal information, commonly known as phishing .

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Anti-phishing Act of 2005'.


    Congress finds the following:

    (1) American society is increasingly dependent on the Internet for communications, entertainment, commerce, and banking.

    (2) For the Internet to reach its full potential in these and other respects, it must continue to be a trustworthy medium. This means, for example, that Internet users should be able to trust the stated origin of Internet communications and the stated destination of Internet hyperlinks.

    (3) Internet users are increasingly subjected to scams based on misleading or false communications that trick the user into sending money, or trick the user into revealing enough information to enable various forms of identify theft that result in financial loss.

    (4) One class of such scams, called `phishing' , uses false e-mail return addresses, stolen graphics, stylistic imitation, misleading or disguised hyperlinks, so-called `social engineering', and other artifices to trick users into revealing personally identifiable information. After obtaining this information, the `phisher' then uses the information to create unlawful identification documents and/or to unlawfully obtain money or property.

    (5) These crimes victimize not only the individuals whose information is stolen, but the entire online community, including millions of people who rely on the integrity of the Internet's system of addresses and hyperlinks.


    (a) In General- Chapter 63 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

    `Sec. 1351. Internet fraud

    `(a) Website- Whoever knowingly, with the intent to carry on any activity which would be a Federal or State crime of fraud or identity theft--

    `(1) creates or procures the creation of a website or domain name that represents itself as a legitimate online business, without the authority or approval of the registered owner of the actual website or domain name of the legitimate online business; and

    `(2) uses that website or domain name to induce, request, ask, or solicit any person to transmit, submit, or provide any means of identification to another;

    shall be fined under this title or imprisoned up to 5 years, or both.

    `(b) Messenger- Whoever knowingly, with the intent to carry on any activity which would be a Federal or State crime of fraud or identity theft sends any electronic mail message that--

    `(1) falsely represents itself as being sent by a legitimate online business;

    `(2) includes an Internet information location tool that refers or links users to an online location on the World Wide Web that falsely purports to belong to or be associated with such legitimate online business; and

    `(3) induces, requests, asks, or solicits a recipient of the electronic mail message directly or indirectly to provide, submit, or relate any means of identification to another;

    shall be fined under this title or imprisoned up to 5 years, or both.

    `(c) Definitions- In

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