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.

Security Breach Threatens Soldiers’ & Civilians’ Personal Information

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Burglars tend to go after high ticket items that can be immediately turned into cash. They may include electronics such as TVs, computers, game consoles or various kinds of stereo equipment. Jewelry has always been the favorite of the thief, and they know most women keep their jewelry box on their dresser or in the top or bottom drawer.

What many are beginning to realize is that the information on the computers or laptops that are stolen is worth much more than the hardware itself. The money today is in the data that is stolen that can be used to commit identity theft.

In the past few years, numerous data breaches have occurred simply because a laptop or PC was stolen from someone’s home. A Veterans Administration employees home was broken into and his work PC was stolen which had almost 26.5 million Social Security numbers of veterans and their families. That’s almost 10% of the US population on one computer! That PC cost the VA maybe $1000.00 to purchase, but the data loss cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to mitigate.

“CNN reports The personal records of thousands of soldiers, employees and their families were potentially exposed after a laptop computer containing the information was stolen over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the military says.

The security breach happened where the rental apartment of an employee was. The computer contained “names and personally identifiable information for slightly more than 42,000 records including names, Social Security number, home address, date of birth, encrypted credit card information, personal e-mail address, personal telephone numbers, and family member information.”

A theft of this kind in your own home, whether it is your company’s computer or your own can have a devastating effect. The key is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

1. Always lock your doors and windows no matter what time of the year it is.

2. Make sure all exterior ladders are locked up to prevent someone from accessing an upper level window.

3. Install a home security system that calls you and the local police when tripped.

4. Make sure your computers are locked down too.  For desktops, it is a good idea to cable them to a desk or wall. For laptops they should be put in a safe.

5. Install encryption software on all PCs that makes the data unreadable and useless to the thief.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing stolen laptops on the Today Show. Disclosure