Caller ID spoofing is when an individual can deliberately disguise the actual caller and phone number that appears on a caller ID screen.
Over the last few years, spoofing has become easier with the advent of Internet telephone equipment and websites that offer caller ID spoofing services. Some of these websites also offer voice disguising services which would distort a caller's voice or voice scrambling which would make the person's voice sound like the opposite sex.
While caller ID spoofing is legal, usually, the uses are not. In a 2006 AP story, one example was people using caller ID spoofing to buy stolen credit card numbers. They'd call a money ordering service, manipulate the caller ID to appear as if it's from the credit card holder's home and then use the credit card to pick up cash transfers. Another example the AP story mentioned was credit card authentication. The spoofing caller would have the card holder's home phone number appear and thus the new credit card would be activated.
CTIA and the wireless industry support making caller ID spoofing illegal and there are a few bills in Congress that would accomplish this goal. On April 14, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Truth in Caller ID of 2009 (H.R. 1258) which would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit manipulation of caller identification information, and for other purposes.
- H.R. 1110 -- Preventing Harassment Through Outbound Number Enforcement Act of 2009 which would amend title 18, US Code, to prevent caller ID spoofing.
- S 30 -- Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 which would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit manipulation of caller identification information
If you want to make this practice illegal, we recommend you contact your elected officials and let them know that you support these bills.
In addition, CTIA recommends individuals who are victim of caller ID spoofing to register a complaint with the FCC.