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.