Penal Code Section 146b

Simulating Official Inquiries – Penal Code Section 146b

Penal Code Section 146b provides misdemeanor-level punishment for any person who makes a demand for information by posing as a member of a government agency.

You are guilty of a misdemeanor if you ask for, or demand information from a person while misrepresenting that you are part of a State, county, city or government agency. To be guilty of the crime, the communication or printed form must reasonably appear to have come from a government entity.


Penal Code Section 146b is rarely used by law enforcement.  In most cases, any attempt to obtain a person’s confidential information will be coupled with some other variety of fraud or identity theft.  For this reason, prosecutors tend to opt for more serious charges under Sections 487, 530.5, etc.

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