Burton Kelso, Tech Expert
How to Stop Criminals from Spoofing Your Smartphone Number
Telephone spoofing, also known as caller ID spoofing is the act of making a phone call appear as if it is coming from a different number when it shows up on your caller ID. Cyber Criminals use this practice as a way to carry out their various voice and text phishing scams. If you see a local phone number show up on your caller ID crooks know you're probably going to answer. Unfortunately, it is pretty easy to program a phone to show a fake caller ID, but there are ways to protect your smartphone number. Check out these quick and easy tips that will prevent crooks from getting your smartphone number.
The reality is it is not much you can do if you find that a criminal is spoofing your number and it turns out that spoofing a number is not illegal, sort of. The FCC's website and Truth in Caller ID Act, states "FCC rules prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value.” The trick is the part of 'no intent to do harm". If you're a small or solo business, you might choose to have another phone number show up when you call customers. You might want to have an 888 number or another local number to protect your office number ... or your smartphone if you run your business from your mobile device. When criminals spoof, they are obviously trying to cause harm, but these crooks can skirt the law as many of these call centers are outside of the United States. Also, numbers are chosen at random from leaked numbers on the dark web. I know you're also wondering if your phone provider can help, but unfortunately, they can't ... unless you decide to change your number.