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August 16, 2018

Caller ID Spoof and Redial Issues

cincinnati-phone-scam

We are getting lots of calls from customers are who have had their caller ID spoofed. They answer their work phone only to be told by a caller (usually an angry caller)  that they just called them and hung up or “played” on their phone. Of course the business didn’t just call and play on anyone’s phone (who has time for that?) but the caller is just as angry and threatens to call the cops, sue, cause bodily harm, etc.

What is causing this? The issue is Caller ID Spoofingcincinnati-phone-scammer

This is when a scammer calls someone and they use YOUR number as their caller ID. When the victim of the scam hits redial, they are not calling the scammer, but the business who’s caller ID was used to place the call (your legitimate business.)

The question we get asked a few times a week is “How do we stop this?” There is nothing that can be done stop caller ID spoofing at this time.

Let me paint of picture of why Caller ID spoofing hard to stop

You can send a letter and write any return address you want on the envelope. When the person gets the letter, all they know about the sender is the address written as the return the address. This could be the real sender, but there is no guarantee. Since anyone can write anything on the letter as the return address, anyone could send a letter and write your return address on the envelope. There is nothing you can do to stop someone from writing down your address as the return address on anything they mail.

Why are scammers spoofing caller ID’s?

The simple answer; money. Scammers are usually in it for some financial gain. The are too many scams to list that would be more effective with a spoofed caller ID. Just like eMail scams, the scammers are out to trick somebody into something.

What can be done?

One option for businesses is to use the auto attendant feature built into your phone system. When the victim hits redial and hears your professionally recorded greeting, saying they have reached a business, they may hang up and your staff never has to deal with the angry exchange of words. This may not deter everyone, but it should reduce the number of times your phone actually rings.

Residential customers can simply not answer any numbers they do not recognize, and change their voicemail to say something like “My caller ID has been Spoofed and i did not call you” or get a service like the business phone system that plays a message where the caller has to hit “5” to reach you.

The second option is a boutique service that only a handful of our clients use. It not only cuts down on caller ID spoofing, it also almost eliminates robo calls. The robots don’t know to press “5” and so they never get through!

The residential clients that do have it, say $10 a month to eliminate robo calls is money well spent.

Resources

Here are 2 official resources if you want to read more:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2016/05/scammers-can-fake-caller-id-info

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id