Have you ever missed a call, returned it and found yourself speaking with someone who’s telling you that you called them first? You might have been the victim of Caller ID Spoofing. Or, on the receiving end, wondered why a scammer’s phone number showed up as a local number on your phone? This type of technology allows a caller to masquerade as someone else by falsifying the number that appears on the recipients caller ID display. Spoofing has become a major problem for the Australian community affecting individual and business phone lines. IDCARE has received reports from victims that they have received over 100 calls in a single day by angry individuals accusing them of being a scammer.
Caller ID Spoofing does not utilise the victims service provider, it simply tricks call recipients handsets into thinking the call they are receiving is coming from a number chosen by the scammer (yours for example).Generally scammers will pick a number at random to use this technology with. It is not necessarily targeted, however we have received reports that some people have discovered scammers are using their number as a form of retaliation after a verbal altercation with a scammer.
Caller ID Spoofing may be annoying for you if your number has been used and may feel like an invasion of your privacy, however as long as you have not provided any information to a scammer, the risk of direct misuse is low. You may receive calls from people contacting you wondering why you have called, or in some cases accusing you of being a scammer. In our experience the scammers will use your number for a short period of time(sometimes 1-2 weeks) then they will move on to another number. Unfortunately Caller ID Spoofing is not something an affected person’s telecommunication provider can detect or prevent as their service is not actually being used.
If your number has been spoofed and the calls persist longer than several weeks, you may even want to consider changing your number as this is the only action available that will stop the calls entirely. You may also want to consider including in your recorded missed call message that your number has been used (spoofed) by scammers and if the caller is ringing about a suspicious phone call they received to please ignore. You may even consider slightly change your name on Facebook or other types of social media order to avoid the call recipients successfully looking you up.
Please note: Some callers who’ve had their phone number used for spoofing have advised IDCARE that their full name has shown up on the call recipients’ phone when the scammer is contacting them. Given this, please do not be alarmed if you receive call backs or messages from people addressing you by your Full Name, this is not because the scammers are using your name necessarily. Some telco providers (ie. Optus) transmit more information than just the Caller ID phone number (ie: full name of caller also). As some individuals will react angrily to the unwanted calls, consider letting all unknown calls to go through to message.
Most Australians have become suspicious when receiving calls from an overseas number that is not a friend or family member and are more likely to not answer or disengage quickly than if the number displays the same area code as their own. Scammers are now utilising this technology to pose as Australian based companies. It is not just individual or small businesses phone numbers that can be spoofed, government services or financial institution phone numbers can also be spoofed. Some cold callers will even tell you to check the number online to verify they are calling from a legitimate organisation – catching many people out!