Recently, I uncovered that someone is using my phone number to call others. I would receive strange texts and calls from people saying, “Who is this?” and “Stop calling me!”. Initially, I believed these people just had the wrong phone number and ignored their messages. However, it got to the point where the calls and texts were disturbing me every minute of the day. Then, I realized I needed to look into it.
After some investigating, I found out a telemarketing company was using my phone number to target and solicit locals. I thought to myself, how can they do this? Well, the answer was simple: Phone Spoofing.
What’s Phone Spoofing?
Phone spoofing is when someone falsifies the number and name that appear on the recipient’s Caller ID. Often, telemarketers will use real local phone numbers when targeting numbers in that area code, as the recipients will then be more likely to pick up. The spoofing scammer then tries to convince them to purchase something or provide their personal information.
Who Typically Uses Caller ID Spoofing?
In my case, telemarketers spoofed my number, but they aren’t the only party that does so. Private investigators and collection agencies use spoofing to hide their real number when looking into people. Work professionals also may spoof their office phone number in the event they’re working from home or traveling.
Is Phone Spoofing Legal?
According to the United States Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, spoofing a phone number is allowed unless the person is: “knowingly transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value….” The penalty for violating this act is $10,000. So, as long as there’s evidence proving the spoof caller violated this act, their actions are considered illegal.
Is There A Way Stop Someone From Using My Number?
When looking online, there’s no definite way to stop someone from using your number. Below, are some methods which I have found and used that have helped me greatly.
Change Your Number
When in doubt, change your phone number. It can be difficult to lose a number you’ve had all of your life, but it’s necessary when being plagued by people who’ve been spoofed. You can contact your cell phone carrier to do this.
On Your Voicemail Answering Message, Say You Were Spoofed.
To warn people, you can leave a voicemail answering message saying your number has been spoofed. This will prevent those who have been called by your spoof number from from leaving a voicemail and calling you again.
Report Them To The FCC
If you are sure your number has been spoofed, file a complaint with the FCC. Recently, they have been taking more initiative to stop spoof callers and robocalls.
Once I changed my phone number, the calls and texts regarding the spoof calls finally stopped. It’s a relief knowing I don’t have to let them interfere with my everyday life anymore. If you happen to find out someone is using your phone number, learn from my story and take the necessary steps to stop them.
Check out our other technology advice on Safeguarde!