Phone Number Spoofing Hitting Minnesota
If you've ever had somebody call you saying they're calling you back, but you never called them, you might have your phone number spoofed and may need to worry!
This happened to me today and I was completely confused. Within a couple hours I had numerous people calling my cell phone telling me they missed my call and were calling me back. I never called them though! I finally made a call to my cell provider and they said it sounds like my phone number was being spoofed and there was nothing they could do about it. So I just have to sit and watch my cell phone ring all day with people calling me back that I didn't call. What was odd is that they were all 612-2XX-XXXX phone numbers that were calling me back.
This might sound like something illegal, but there's a fine line between legal and not with phone number spoofing. In my case, the practice was likely illegal.
According to Wikipedia:
Caller ID spoofing is generally illegal in the United States if done "with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value".
Why could it be likely that the spoofing done with my phone number was illegal? They were displaying my phone number to call individuals. If the spoofing party was calling a large number of people in a short amount of time, they were likely trying to defraud the people they were calling without being traceable. My phone number would be tied to the fraud and I'd have to defend myself. On top of that, the phone number was a cell phone and every call I received back cost me cell time.
If you figure out your phone number was used to spoof, you should do the following to keep yourself safe from liability:
- Write down each phone number that called you back saying they missed your call. Authorities may be able to look into their phone company call history and be able to trace the actual phone number or IP address of the caller.
- Report the spoofing incident to the FCC through their online form. There is some very good information about spoofing that you'll want to know about, both receiving calls from a spoofed number and getting your number spoofed.