State Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-North Strabane Township, has reintroduced legislation that would crack down on con artists using bogus Internet ploys to steal confidential information and defraud consumers and businesses.
“The online scams are called ‘phishing’ and they rob Americans of billions of dollars,” said Neuman, a member of the House Consumer Affairs and Judiciary committees. “These scams are increasing in frequency and sophistication, and it’s time Pennsylvania gave victims and prosecutors the tools to fight back.”
Neuman said his H.B. 2374 would establish criminal and civil penalties when a person or entity misrepresents itself on the Internet to solicit private financial or personal information that is used to defraud victims.
Neuman said H.B. 2374, which has been referred to the House Consumer Affairs Committee for consideration, would establish second- and third-degree felonies for convictions, carrying penalties of up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $25,000; provide for civil damages of up to $100,000 for each violation, and allow courts to triple actual damage awards with repeated violations.
Neuman said phishing scams should be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
Neuman said similar legislation he introduced in 2011 passed unanimously in the House but was not voted on in the state Senate before the legislative session ended.