How much do you safeguard your business phone numbers? Businesses want to remain trustworthy to their clients, and caller ID spoofing can ruin a hard-earned reputation. Spoofing has become a common practice that threatens many entities, from small business to government agencies. Let’s explore more about caller ID spoofing, how it works, and means of mitigating this menace.
What is Caller ID Spoofing
Caller ID spoofing is the practice in which callers intentionally falsify their caller ID information to fabricate identity. The caller fakes her information to appear different to the receiver. Scammers and imposters use caller ID spoofing to disguise an actual phone number to lure the recipient.
During caller ID spoofing, the caller sends false information to deceive the receiver. The spoofing technology allows the display of different caller information. After that, the caller can choose any phone number to submit to the receiver as the caller’s ID.
Caller ID Spoofing works in the following way;
- The caller pays in advance some minutes of call to the vendor
- Next, they open a web form to enter their phone number, recipients phone number, and the number to display to the receiver
- The service patches the call as stipulated by the caller
Originally, caller ID spoofing was available to people with a specialized digital connection. This connection includes law enforcement agencies, private investors, and collection agencies. However, Voice Over the Internet Protocol (VoIP) makes it possible for the average person to falsify calling numbers.
Is Caller ID Spoofing Legal
Although Caller ID spoofing has many legitimate purposes, it’s often used for malicious purposes. Many scammers use caller ID spoofing for identity theft or impersonation of other people or organizations.
What is Neighbor Spoofing?
If you have been receiving numerous local calls, then you might be a victim of spoofing. Neighbor spoofing is a new strategy that scammers use to entice recipients to answer their calls.
Typically, many people shun unknown phone calls, especially the non-local ones. Using local codes, therefore, prompts the recipients to receive phone calls. Many scammers use the neighbor spoofing strategy for entice to initiate conversations.
Local codes manipulate recipients to think that the calls are from the local area and probably from someone they know. The receiver is tricked into answering the phone call by imagining that it’s a genuine one.
This strategy drags many individuals and businesses into the hands of malicious people. In many instances, the caller ID is a random number with the same area code and first digits as your phone number. If not keen enough, you might confuse the caller ID with a previously contacted number.
What Is the Technology Behind Spoofing?
To alleviate spoofing, it’s essential to understand how the technology works. Often, spoofing is done through websites, mobile apps, and forwarding services, or a combination of these technologies.
Below are some of the services designed for spoofing;
- Spoof My Phone
- My Phone Robot
Some companies offer spoofing services through the internet. Traditional phone call providers use prepaid calling services. Callers are required to open accounts with their phone numbers or personal information. However, not all providers require such information.
Other Spoofing Services
Not all spoofing services serve malicious purposes. There are a few services whose primary goal was to help professionals who require fake caller ID services. They include;
- Google Voice
These services help professionals such as investigators and collection agencies. However, spammers find their way to these technologies.
How is Caller ID Spoofing Misused?
Perpetrators have different methods of misusing spoofing technology. Many businesses are on the receiving end of spoofing activities. Caller ID spoofing may be misused in the following ways;
Harassment and Intimidation
Many spammers are keen to harass business operators using fake identities. For example, the perpetrators disguise themselves as local authorities and impose non-existent fines. Some can even go further to force business owners to close down citing illegalities or irregularities in the workplace. Some people may end up paying huge sums of money to the perpetrators.
Obtaining Personal Information
Under the disguise of fake identities, scammers obtain personal information from entities for vindictive purposes. Any leaked personal info might end up being used maliciously. If someone uses your details to engage in criminal activities, you might face legal proceedings.
Many businesses have been defrauded through spoofing. The callers use tricks to defraud unsuspecting individuals. In most of the cases of cheating, the perpetrators hide under identities well known to them.
How Can Caller ID Spoofing Affect Businesses?
Many caller target businesses rather than individuals. Caller ID spoofing affects businesses in the following ways;
Companies make lots of losses from spoofing-related activities. Usually, companies make lots of calls, and it might be challenging to detect spoofing of their phone numbers. In many instances of spoofing, callers end up defrauding clients.
This act hurts many businesses and has caused lots of losses. If the spoofing isn’t detected as early as possible, the entity might end up in substantial losses.
Lots of businesses have had to deal with a ‘bad name.’ Spoofing not only leads to losses; it can also destroy a company’s reputation. It becomes difficult for a business to convince its customers otherwise.
Some competitors may even use this strategy to destroy your business reputation to thrive. Some cases of caller ID spoofing can lead to total business failure.
Examples of Recent Malicious Caller ID Spoofing Instances
The US alone has seen many instances of caller ID spoofing. Some of these instances were slight, while others rocked business entities very hard. In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reported an average of 375,000 caller ID spoofing cases per month.
In the 2011 Canadian Federal Elections, in a political scandal, a false caller ID from Ohio masqueraded as a caller from Ontario. Both robocalls and live calls were used to mislead voters. The caller misled the voters to change their polling stations to prevent some people from voting.
In August 2019, Delaware Police issued a warning to people about scammers using the Delaware State Police phone number to con individuals. The scammers asked money from individuals under pretense. In some instances, the callers requested wired payments for bail or tickets for a friend or relative. The scammers are said to have been very convincing while capitalizing on the emotional vulnerability of the victim.
In another instance, a telemarketer attempted to use the Nash UNC Hospital’s phone number to call area residents. The caller tried to obtain information from area residents under the disguise of the hospital’s administration. The details asked included names and billing addresses.
How to Mitigate Caller ID Spoofing
It’s difficult to tell whether an incoming caller ID is spoofed. Here is how to identify and avoid phony calls;
Download a Call-Blocking App
Majority of modern phones have built-in call blocking options. These apps close single numbers on individual devices. These apps may, however, not be 100% effective because scammers use rotating numbers.
If you have the issues with some numbers, block them using them. Some apps are advanced to detect and block robocalls or telemarketing numbers.
Never Disclose Personal Information
If anyone calls asking you to disclose some of your details such as names, SSN/EIN details, billing addresses, etc., be hesitant. Scammers are treacherous and may use convincing tactics to lure you. Any attempt to extort your details should be dismissed.
Delay as much as possible to engage with anyone requesting your information. Call the number back to ensure if it’s the company’s number. You can as well confirm the number by calling a second line or by sending an e-mail. Delayed authentication enables you to ease off the pressure from the scammers. Don’t be so quick to act while you can delay a bit to confirm the caller’s authenticity.
Ignore the Call
If you ever receive a call fishy call, ignore it. Some inbuilt apps such as Truecaller can notify you of a spam possibility. In this case, don’t answer the call. Let the phone go unanswered to voicemail.
Report the Caller ID Spoofing to the FCC
Whenever you encounter a spam call, report it immediately to the FCC. If in the event something malicious happens, contact the police. This will save you from any alteration with the law especially if your details appear for criminal dealings. The FCC will create immediate awareness and investigate the matter. Also, you will be saving others from the wrath of scammers.
Register Your Number With The ‘Do Not Call List’
To avoid spoofing, the FCC advises individuals and business to register their numbers with the Do Not Call List. This reduces the chances of receiving a phone call from a telemarketer or a scammer.
Caller ID Reputation Securing Your Business from Spoofing
The Caller ID Reputation is a service that helps businesses from malicious spoofing. It helps you to manage and secure your business from caller ID spoofing that might tarnish your reputation. By doing this, you will be securing your business from scammers and malicious individuals who can send your business to the grave. Always be vigilant enough not to fall into this trap.