Fake Caller ID

by Marianne Sorensen

Used to be you could glance at your caller ID and be fairly certain that what you saw would be who you’d get if you chose to answer the call. Now, the ready availability of fake caller ID numbers makes it likely that the information displayed on your phone is inaccurate. Anyone can obtain a fake caller ID number for a few dollars, and con artists are using fake IDs to “spoof” victims, making them believe they are receiving a call from a bank or credit card company, then soliciting personal information and money.

Transmitting false or no caller ID information violates the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and its Do Not Call provisions, which require that telemarketers transmit accurate caller ID information so that consumers can contact them to stop unwanted calls. Substantial fines can be imposed for transmitting incorrect caller ID numbers.

Tips for consumers:
  • Don’t rely on the accuracy of caller ID.
  • Never give out personal or financial information over the phone.

Visit the FTC’s web site to educate yourself about identify theft, phishing and other scams.

Tips for businesses:
  • Inform your customers that you will never solicit personal or private information via email or telephone.
  • Warn customers on your web site and in your newsletter of phishing and other scams to watch for.
For telemarketers:
Make sure you are transmitting accurate and valid telephone numbers. A consumer should be able to call back the number recorded by caller ID to ask questions and/or to request not to receive future calls.
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