Defense Against Crime

07/02/2019

Has your phone number been Spoofed?

Today I received a phone number and my phone auto-replied saying  I will call you right Annoying callback.  Then I received a text reply asking“ who is this?”

So I replied “you called me and my phone auto-replied

Long story short…the person did not call me, and I alerted them that their phone number has been spoofed.

After doing some research because this is not the first time this has happened.  I discovered it’s now a common practice for scammers to display people’s legitimate phone #s on their your Caller IDs, instead of their own phone number.  What is worse, your legal number may get labeled as a scammer or frequent caller if reported enough, and there is NOTHING the cell phone companies can currently do about it ( or not willing to).

Even worse, it turns out that spoofing a company or your number is not technically illegal under certain circumstances. According to the FCC website and Truth in Caller ID Act, “FCC rules prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.”

However, with this law, if there is no intent to harm, in other words, if it is a legitimate business, you can use other numbers. Phone spoofing is legal in cases such as a business displaying their toll-free call-back number or a doctor using their mobile phone and having their office number appear. Even if the intent is to harm or defraud, some of the call centers originate from outside the United States, so they are very hard to regulate or shut down.

Now I know I’m just a simple person, but it seems that some piece of software can be added to the carrier’s systems to verify phone numbers. Basically, undo the hole in their system for calls the happen in the country. If the numbers used don’t belong to the owner, don’t allow the call.

What can you do

 Bad news: there are websites that explain HOW to do this…so your number is not safe.
Good News: There are precautions you can take.

What is Caller ID Spoofing and How can you stop it. The FCC Provides help at this link:

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id

 

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