A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation to crack down on Internet ploys that are used to steal personal information from unsuspecting consumers.
House Bill 2374 would set penalties of up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 against those who misrepresent themselves as banks or other organizations.
The practice, known as phishing, is used to gain bank account information, Social Security numbers and computer passwords and defraud victims.
“These scams are increasing in frequency and sophistication, and it’s time Pennsylvania gave victims and prosecutors the tools to fight back,” sponsoring state Rep. Brandon Neuman (D-Washington) said in a news release.
The measure, which has been referred to the House Consumer Affairs Committee for consideration, would also provide for civil damages of up to $100,000 for each violation.
Courts would be permitted to triple actual damage awards with repeated violations.
Similar legislation introduced in 2011 unanimously passed the House, but did not come up for a vote in the Senate.