Caller-ID Spoofing

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Caller-ID Spoofing

A TMC team member recently received a complaint from someone claiming we dialed his number which is on the national Do-Not-Call (DNC) List. TMC has very strict guidelines regarding following DNC laws. Heck, our Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine has covered DNC laws and regulations more than any other magazine. So how ironic would it be if TMC was indeed at fault for violating the DNC laws?

I wasn't worried. I knew we weren't in violation since I was the one that helped implement our DNC policies and procedures. Heck, we even pay the FCC's "extortion" fee to rent the DNC list.

Anyway, when the TMC employee asked with whom he spoke with at TMC, he was very vague and replied, "I don't know who called me from your organization, but they called about something to do with 'WiFi'. I don't know what exactly it was about since I was sleepy at 9:30am."

He did give his number, but when asked for more information about the call he basically got irate and said, "I don't know who it was, but you're on my CallerID and I am reporting you for calling me and each time you call me I will have you fined the $10,000 fine imposed by the FCC's DNC law."

Ok, so now he's making threats with little to no information to go on. That's nice. I checked our CRM database and I saw no number listed that might be called by our sales team. Next, I had TMC's MIS guru (Benzy Fernando) check out the outbound call accounting logs and there was no such phone number listed as being dialed - ever. If it's not in our call accounting system, we didn't dial it. Therefore it was impossible for TMC's main number to show up in his CallerID display.

Or is it?

"Caller ID spoofing" has emerged over the past six months as a useful tool for identity thieves and other scam artists, according to fraud experts. Caller ID spoofing enables them to pose as banks or other trusted authorities and drain accounts. Caller ID spoofing is not prohibited by law, but that if this type of Caller-ID spoofing fraud increases then the FCC may be forced to tighten the rules.

From a Yahoo/Reuters Article where a guy designed his own "caller-ID spoofing device":

Any reporter would scramble for a ringing phone that reads "White House media line" on its caller ID display.
But it's not the Bush administration on the line -- it's security instructor Ralph Echemendia, calling from a mobile phone on a remote Georgia highway.
"You can see how this sort of thing could be used in a very malicious way," said
Echemendia, a security instructor at the Intense School, a technology training

In fact, using VoIP phone services makes it very easy for scam artists to make it appear that they are calling from another phone number. Great, in addition to DNC, VoIP is another major item that TMC covers! Next someone will be calling us to sue us for covering Caller-ID spoofing technology!

My theory is that it was a telemarketer using VoIP to solicit this guy and he thought it would be funny if he targetted the #1 publication covering VoIP (Internet Telephony Magazine) and the #1 publication covering DNC laws (Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine) as the "primary target" of his "Caller-ID spoofing" by using our main phone number. Yeah, really funny guy...Ha ha! Ok, maybe that's just conspiracy talk, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Besides, my theory is no worse than that "evolution theory" is it?

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