Watch Out For Caller ID Spoofing

Caller ID spoofing is the practice of causing the telephone network to display a number on the recipient’s caller ID display which is not that of the actual originating caller. Similar to e-mail spoofing which can make it appear that a message came from any e-mail address the sender chooses, caller ID spoofing can make a call appear to have come from any phone number. Most people trust caller ID and are unaware of caller ID spoofing. This is obviously a flawed system ripe for fraud.

In Oklahoma, the anti-caller ID spoofing act has passed the Oklahoma House and now heads to the state Senate. The bill would protect people from getting scammed by people using fake caller ID. The Washington Post reported the “Truth in Caller ID Act of 2007” would make it “unlawful for any person within the United States, in connection with any telecommunications service or VOIP service, to cause any caller identification service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud or cause harm.”

Caller ID Spoofing is often sold as a tool for law enforcement to disguise them when trying to nab suspects. If someone is trying to evade child support caller ID spoofing may be a legitimate tool. Someone who suspects a cheating spouse may use it to do their own investigations. Doctors on call wanting to block their number may need to change a caller ID if the client requires a phone number to show when calling.

The fraudulent uses for caller ID spoofing far out weigh legitimate ones. Anyone can pose as law enforcement, a charity, government agencies, credit card companies or whatever the imagination can bring. Abuses of this technology have raised hackles with government officials.

Any time your phone rings be suspect. Don’t automatically trust what shows on caller ID. No matter what caller ID says, never give out personal information over the phone. If someone is calling          because you won something or stand to lose something, tell them you’d be happy to discuss, but that you will call them back. My suggestion is to go online and search out a legitimate number and call to confirm the details.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Identity Theft and Home Security on TBS Movie and Makeover.