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September 29, 2013

Caller ID may be lying to you

NORMAN — Have you ever received a phone call from a telemarketer who became rude and abusive when you refused to listen to their sales pitch? Who hasn’t?

Have you ever tried to report them to their superiors by calling the number that appeared on your Caller ID, only to discover that the number was not in service or actually belonged to some old lady in Phoenix? That’s what is happening to folks across the country as more and more unscrupulous characters discover the benefits of Caller ID spoofing.

Caller ID (CID) spoofing, in its simplest form, allows you (the spoofer) to cause a fake phone number to be displayed by the CID service of whomever you are trying to trick (the spoofee). Instead of your real phone number being revealed to the call recipient, or no number at all, as is the case with *67 CID blocking, CID spoofing allows you to display any number that you like, such as that of the White House or the local pizza parlor.

CID spoofing has been possible since the invention of Caller ID and has been used for many years by law enforcement agencies, private investigators and collection agencies. These groups discovered early on that many people were reluctant to answer the phone if they knew that a police department or collection agency was on the other end. Using expensive equipment, combined with high-priced Primary Rate Interface lines provided by the local telephone companies, they learned that they were often able to trick their targets into answering their calls.

As telephone technology evolved and Internet usage became more pervasive, CID spoofing became a much less expensive proposition.

In 2004, companies such as CovertCall and Camophone began making spoofing services easily available to the general public, enabling anyone with a pocket full of change to engage in the perfectly legal activity of concealing their telephone identity.

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