The Norman Transcript

Business

September 29, 2013

Caller ID may be lying to you

(Continued)

NORMAN —

A Web search for “caller ID spoofing” shows scores of companies offering CID spoofing, with SpoofCard being the clear front-runner. Many services also offer the ability to record your calls and disguise your voice. You’ve heard voice-altering effects like these in movies; now, for $10 or less, they can be yours. Whether you use these abilities for good or bad is your decision.

Some good causes for which CID spoofing can be used include checking up on anyone that might be trying to avoid the intrusion of your calls, such as your children or even a wayward spouse.

I recently read an amusing interview with a fellow who used CID spoofing to collect thousands of dollars owed him by a previous employer. The company wouldn’t answer the phone when they saw his number being displayed but would answer every time when he spoofed himself as being the human resources director or company president. He collected his money.

Like all technologies, the bad guys also have discovered CID spoofing. They’ve found that people are more likely to reveal private information when they think that their bank or credit card company, or the Social Security Administration, is calling them.

Some credit card companies, along with Western Union, have been stung by CID spoofing scams and tricked into issuing credit cards or wiring money to crooks. Other scams include hacking into cell phone voicemail boxes, as many are set to play back messages when they receive a call from the owner’s phone number. Another scam is called “swatting.” “Swatters” use CID spoofing to call in fake kidnappings and hostage crises to 911.

The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, which was signed into law Dec. 22, 2010, prohibits caller ID spoofing for the purposes of defrauding or otherwise causing harm. Personally, I like the idea of being able to conceal my identity any time that I please. You may, too, but keep in mind that it is illegal to do so “with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value” (from the FCC website).

Check out the amusing Spoofem.com commercial on Youtube and imagine the possibilities. Afterward, you may not want to trust CID information any more than you’d trust the return address on a piece of mail.

Dave Moore of Norman has been an independent computer service technician since 1984. He can be reached at 919-9901 or davemoorecomputers.com.

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