Caller ID Spoofing - should it be illegal?

I just saw a local news report on this.

Caller ID Spoofing

It seems a telemarketer was making calls but the number that showed up on the receiver’s caller ID was not that of the telemarketer, but that of a local information bureau, or something similar. It was a toll free number so the information bureau got hit with hundreds of dollars of toll-free call charges. That’s caller ID forgery, and clearly it stinks.

But what is worse, nobody can trust their caller ID now. It’s even easier to phish for confidential information if you can assume the identity of any bank or credit card company.

Several web sites point out that this is a useful tool for law enforcement. True that, but it should be restricted to law enforcement the same way wire tapping is.

Anybody worried? Do we need a “Caller ID Fraud” law?

I’ve had something similar happen before, a business calling with an invalid 1-800 number listed in caller ID. Worse yet, their phone banks apparently weren’t staffed well, as when I finally started picking up the phone to figure out who the hell was calling me, I’d wait on the phone for a minute sometimes and hear no one on the other side. And yes, it should be illegal.

This has started happening to me on my cell phone as well. True, I never answer a call unless I know the number or it is a local Dallas number. But, since my phone is always on vibrate, having the phone vibrating several times a day can wear down battery life as well as being very annoying at work.

There’s no need for it to be illegal; phone companies just have to list it as a violation of usage policy; do it and they terminate your account. Caller ID doesn’t originate from the handset anyway, so how is this even possible without the telco’s system enabling it?

OK, now I have RTFA, it looks like a service that one particular telco is advertising as a benefit; yes, it’s fraudulent and it should be illegal.

  • As I remember, the site went offline in just a few days. I forget what became of it or why, but it went down fast. I couldn’t get the link in the Register story to connect to anything.

Oh, dear god, no. This should absolutely be illegal. As a former local telephone operator (I quit six months ago) I can tell you that telemarketers (or perhaps it was collection agencies…after reading that article…people always complained about “telemarketers”, but they probably just weren’t paying their damn bills) had already picked up on some sort of similar service when I was working there. People would get a call from, say, 111-111-1111 (and that’s how people would say it-- one one one, one one one, one one one one) and then be pissed that it was an invalid number and call us to “do something about it”. Drove me bananas, and apparently, my supervisors were never able (or didn’t bother…if the answer was on the internet for anyone to google) to find out just what was going on so that I could explain to these people what the hell was going on.

The inability of management to look into shit like this was so utterly frustrating. We were told to send people to the “annoyance call bureau” which was just a voice mail jail.

A call from pi would have been amusing…I can just hear it now…“Why would someone in Missouri be calling me?” Unfortunately, the fourth digit of pi is one, so it’s not a valid number.

Shock Jock Howard Stern once told his listeners to call 1-800-FARTMAN, and the folks at 1-800-EASTMAN (as in Kodak) wanted to wring his neck.