Web sites let Caller ID say anything

March 8, 2008 – 5:47 PM

Caller ID shows the number from which a person is calling. When it is spoofed, the wrong number is sent in a effort to fool the person receiving the call. For instance, a crook might call you and send your bank’s number, in an effort to convince you to reveal sensitive information.

And, now, here’s the kicker: Hackers aren’t the only ones doing this. Web sites also are offering to spoof caller IDs. Some are inexpensive and available to just about anyone.

One of the sites I found was almost totally anonymous. The service sign-up consisted of only a user name and password. Tricksters just enter their number, your number and the fake caller ID.

I found another site that encourages its customers to compete for best prank call. The site did remind customers to stay legal.

I will not promote these sites by naming them. But I can tell you that there are several.

Caller ID spoofing services have been around for a while. But they were little known and difficult to access.

Now almost anyone can spoof caller ID legally. Spoofing services are considered Internet services, which are loosely regulated. The line between phone and Internet services is difficult for lawmakers.

There’s not much that you can do to stop caller ID spoofing. But you can use the same precautions you use with e-mail. Don’t reveal confidential information unless you’re sure about the other party. If in doubt, insist on dialing the caller’s number yourself to verify it.


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