California Posts No Phishing Signs

    October 4, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The first legislation in the country aimed at banning phishing was passed by the California legislature.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed California’s Anti-Phishing Act into law recently, making the state the first to define phishing and provide punishments for committing it against consumers.

An InformationWeek report said each violation of the law carries a $2,500 fine. People victimized by phishers can sue for the greater of actual damages or $500,000. In the text of the bill, it is “unlawful for any person, through the Internet or other electronic means, to solicit, request, or take any action to induce another person to provide identifying information by representing itself to be a business without the approval or authority of the business.”

By defining phishing as a specific crime, prosecutors and victims will have an easier route to seek legal remedies against those criminals. Many states tend to follow California in enacting certain pieces of legislation, and this may be one that is copied widely in the coming months.

Physically getting to many of those behind phishing attempts may be difficult. A lot of the millions of scams originate outside the United States. But there will be some in the US who will still try their phishing schemes, and perhaps the effect of the law will be demonstrated in court in the near future.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.