Welcome to another addition of Ask A Tech Geek. As technology advances so are the ways scammers operator. The more informed we have about their ways, the less likely they can take advantage of us

Today we are going to answer questions concerning Caller ID Spoofing.

Why are people calling me and asking me why I called them?  Has my phone been hacked?  I called a number that is scamming, when I call them back, they say it wasn’t them. How can this be?

We have all received scam phone calls saying your visa has been compromised; you owe Revenue Canada or you have won a trip on West Jet, etc. There are so many different ones out there right now. When you receive these calls many times they come from local phone numbers or the number they use continue to change every day.

The form of technology they are using is known as Caller ID Spoofing.

What is Caller ID Spoofing?

We know that Caller ID lets you know who is calling you. Caller ID Spoofing is when the caller uses a computer program/App that alters the Caller ID number from theirs to another one. It could be one that someone owns or one that is not in service. They could be calling from India or USA and make it look like it coming from right in our own community.

This app allows the scammers to be anonymous while creating two victims:” the person they called and the one who’s number they spoofed.  This protects the scammers from people tracing their number back to them and receiving retaliating calls from their victim.

Why are these programs/apps available and is it illegal to use them?

These programs/apps were created for legitimate purposes; unfortunately like all criminals they found a way to take advantage of these programs to aid in their criminal activities.   When call centres were created they would use these apps to call on behalf their clients. When more people started working from home these programs would allow them to have their office/business/work number show instead of their personal number. 

It is not illegal to use them for legitimate purposes as long as they accurately identify themselves and their client; however it is illegal to use them to scam others.

So What Should We Do?

If you receive a phone call from a number you may not recognize don’t answer it.  If you happen to and they ask you to do anything or ask for personal information hang up. 

If it happens to look like a legitimate number like your bank, Revenue Canada’s etc, remember they already have your personal information and will not need ask for it. You can always, “I am sorry I will have to call you back.” Then call the number you have on hand. If they make you feel pressured then it is not a legitimate call.

If it a unknown number and you are feel comfortable enough, phone the number and let the person who owns it know that their number has been spoofed.  Many time people are not aware their number is being used in a scam and will receive some harassing phone calls or threatening messages.  This Geek love to call then and let them know what going on a friendly voice will help them understand and that is what I hope someone would do for me.

Remember everyone gets these types of phone calls and eventually everyone’s number will be involved in some sort of Caller ID Spoofing.  It always nice to know that you are not alone and that there are friendly people out there that have your back.

You can block the number that calls you but be aware they are just going to change it up in a day or two and another number will be used for the scam.

Should I Change My Phone Number If It Happens To Me?

Changing your phone number will not help if your number has been spoofed, as eventually it will happen to your new number.  Just be patient and know that in a few days they will use another number to do their scams. 

If you receive harassing or threatening calls about you calling, just calmly and politely let them know about spoofing and that their number could be used for a scam. 

If you like more information click here for more information from the Government of Canada

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