Caller ID and Spoofing

The holidays are here, and we’re all even busier than normal. No surprises in that statement! It’s also the time of year that criminals get busier too. Fraud and scams proliferate – over the Internet, via the telephone, and through the mail. Busy, hurried, harried people are easier marks, as dozens of chores clamor for their attention.
The FCC has posted this warning about Caller ID, the service that allows you to identify a caller before you answer your telephone. It is offered by Kingdom as an optional service. A caller’s number and/or name will be displayed on your phone (if your phone has this feature) or an external display unit may be used. It’s a great service. Being able to screen your calls is…well…liberating.

Bad guys have found a way to rain on the parade. Using a practice known as “caller ID spoofing,” callers can deliberately disguise their identity by falsifying the telephone number and/or name relayed as the Caller ID information.  For example, identity thieves who want to collect sensitive information sometimes use caller ID spoofing to make it appear as though they are calling from your bank, credit card company, or even a government agency. They are interested in collecting tidbits like your bank account or other financial account numbers, your social security number, your date of birth or your mother’s maiden name.  With such data in hand, thieves can literally make their way into your wallet. Caller ID spoofing is, of course, illegal, and violators are subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 for each violation of the rules.

The FCC’s Tips for Consumers
  • Don’t give out personal information in response to an incoming call.  Identity thieves are clever – they often pose as representatives of banks, credit card companies, creditors, or government agencies to get people to reveal their account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords and other identifying information.
  • If you get an inquiry from a company or government agency seeking personal information, don’t provide it.  Instead, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to find out if the entity that supposedly called you actually needs the requested information from you.
  • Let the FCC know about ID spoofers by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC or  filing a complaint at fcc.gov/complaints.
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