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Beware of Caller ID Spoofing

Caller ID spoofing is the practice of changing the number displayed on the call recipient’s phone to give the appearance that someone different is calling. This practice has been used since Caller ID was first introduced, and can be employed for legitimate reasons. For example, a businessperson calling a client from home might want the office number to display on the Caller ID rather than the home number.

 

However, a more sinister use of the practice involves callers making recipients believe they are being called by companies they do business with, in an effort to gather personal information. This information is then used to access the call recipient’s accounts, often with credit card companies or banks. The growth of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) makes Caller ID spoofing more common, as it is easier to perform using VoIP technology.

 

Caller ID spoofing providers (such as SpoofCard) allow individuals and organizations to dictate what phone number they want to appear when they place calls. They pay for a certain number of call minutes, then use an online interface to enter their phone number, the number to be called, and the number they want to appear in the recipient’s Caller ID. The Caller ID spoofing service then makes the call on the spoofer’s behalf.

 

To reduce your chances of becoming a victim of Caller ID spoofing, take the following precautions:

 

  • Do not give out personal information over the phone, unless you initiate the call.
  • If you receive a call requesting information, ask for the name of the organization that is calling. Then, call that organization, using the phone number on your bill or statement — NOT the number on your Caller ID. If the call is legitimate, you will be transferred to the appropriate department. If it’s not legitimate, you can inform the organization of the spoofing incident.

 

If you suspect that Caller ID information has been altered, you can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), by visiting esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm




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