One reason to love our smart phones is all the “apps” that are available. Theyhelp you out of traffic, translate a foreign language, and thousands of other useful actions.
However, some apps have devious purposes. Growing numbers of apps provide Caller ID Spoofing. We rely on caller ID and don’t question that the person on the phone is the name that appears on the screen. However, spoofing apps allow the user to choose any number they want to appear on caller ID instead of their own, to completely disguise their voice so as to remain unrecognizable, and one spoof app allows users to fake texts and emails. Our children are trusters, but they can no longer automatically believe what the caller ID tells them.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article (along with a 6-minute video) that featured SpoofCard, one of the most popular of the spoofing software versions, that told stories from users about how they use the device. Even though the site details useful applications of the device in the section on legality, not one legal use is included as an actual example. The examples from customers are all personal pranks or spying on “loved ones.”
Possibly the most dangerous use of this technology is that the spoofer is able to check another person’s voicemail without their knowledge. Many cell phone carriers allow the user to check their voicemail without a password by calling their phone number from their own phone. If a spoofed caller ID of your number calls your number, the spoofer is also connected directly to the voicemail box. To keep this from happening to you, make sure you have use a password to access your voicemail.
Congress is moving forward in making this practice illegal. The House passed the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2007, but it was never made into law.
The Federal Communication Commission has detailed its current view on caller ID and provides a number to call if you believe a caller ID has been falsified.
Find out all you can about caller ID spoofs. I know it may cause eye rolling by your children, but please talk to them about not assuming the caller whose ID they see on their phone may not be who they think it is. This spoof is no joke.