Phone spoofing is the deliberate manipulation of the caller information that appears on the receiver's caller ID display, which automatically makes the call appear to be from someone other than the actual caller. Spoofing allows callers to falsify the origin of a call to anywhere in the world. Spoofing occurs at an alarming rate due to the availability of new internet telephone technology and third-party service providers' activities.
Internet telephone technology like Voice over Internet Protocol has made spoofing effortless. Some VoIP providers allow subscribers to replace their phone number with any number they want to appear on caller ID displays. They do this by configuring the phone system to display a preferred number instead of the number retrieved from the database.
In Arizona, caller ID spoofing is unlawful when used to facilitate any type of crime. Spoofing is also criminal when used to harass or unlawfully obtain information or valuables from residents in the Country. The US police can disguise their phone number to contact suspects for important information and other law enforcement purposes.
According to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), con artists use spoofing to hide their real phone numbers when they contact their target. This can be achieved by using the phone number of someone close to the victim or impersonating an organization that residents are likely to answer.
Suspicious calls should be reported to the FCC. Alternatively, individuals are encouraged to do a reverse phone number lookup with any verified phone number lookup search tool or contact a phone lookup service provider. Spoofing aids several crimes; these include, but are not limited to the following:
Spoofing has made it possible for individuals to place false emergency calls to Law enforcement agencies and get away with it. Swatting is when a spoofed number places a false emergency call to law enforcement, in this case, the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. This is done with the deliberate intent of causing a response from the team, to either waste their time or distract them from getting a clear picture of the real crime. Another reason for making these calls is getting back at the team as revenge for a past occurrence.
According to the United States Department of Justice, stalking is one of the crimes associated with spoofing. Individuals may spoof the receiver's caller ID to display the phone number of someone dear to their victim. After the number is successfully spoofed, they leverage the relationship the victim has with the spoofed contact to ask personal questions.
Most times, information about the current location of the individual is all the perpetrator needs. Individuals are advised to do a reverse phone number lookup any time a caller starts asking about their current location. A reverse phone number search is an effective way to deal with the situation, as it will reveal the caller’s true identity.
Spoofing has made it easy for anyone to get attention, play pranks, and harass neighbors and unsuspecting persons. Perpetrators of this crime use numbers their victims may likely respond to. Once the receiver picks up, these con artists start a harmless conversation to get their attention. The conversation usually escalates to verbal abuse, warning, or threats and may involve mischievous instructions that may hurt the victims. Individuals should do a reverse phone lookup whenever a caller starts giving suspicious warnings or instructions.
Con artists spoof the receiver's caller IDs to display information of important agencies or officials in the state. Impersonating government agencies is done to win the trust of the victims before any real conversation is made. In the United States, this crime falls under the broad spectrum of identity theft. A common example is the deputy sheriff scam, where a caller poses as a senior police officer. Scammers often hide their real identity to extort sensitive information and money from their victims.
Scammers also spoof their caller ID to pose as genuine telemarketers. Leveraging it, the perpetrators use robocalls with pre-recorded scripts to obtain personal information from targets. Some of them speak to the targets live, promising them huge investments and services. Arizona residents that suspect a fraudulent telemarketing activity on their number can file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
How Do You Know If Your Number Is Being Spoofed?
A phone number has possibly been spoofed when the owner starts receiving calls and texts from contacts that are not saved on their phone. Spoofed numbers are usually used to run phone scams, and victims of these schemes may keep calling the number. To avoid being indicted, residents should contact the FCC by calling 1-888-CALL FCC (225-5322) or file an online report.
Why is Phone Spoofing Illegal?
In the State of Arizona, caller ID spoofing is illegal when used for any mischievous scheme. According to the FCC, phone users retain the right to decide whether or not to answer a phone call. Since any decision relating to the right is based on who appears to be calling them, presenting a false caller ID to defraud people is an illegal act.
It is assumed that any deal struck during the pretense is not based on the other party’s consent. Scammers often spoof phone numbers to get their target to respond favorably. The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 makes it illegal to intentionally transmit false caller information to facilitate any criminal act. However, certain government agencies and third-party service providers are exempted from this law.
How Can You Identify and Protect Yourself from Illegal Spoofed Calls?
Spoofed calls can cause a lot of harm; hence it is essential to protect oneself from them. Here are some tips to protect you from spoofed calls.
- Hang up a phone when a caller from a known organization is requesting personal information.
- Be open to doing a reverse phone number search each time you suspect a fraudulent call.
- Register on the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Download a call blocking app to help you block any identified spoofed call.
- Report identified spoofed calls to the Federal Communications Commission by filing a complaint on their website.
Does Arizona Have Anti-Spoofing Laws?
The Arizona Telephone Solicitation Act serves as the principal anti-spoofing law in the State of Arizona. According to the act, telemarketers must display the accurate caller ID or relevant contact information when calling a potential customer. This act, which is found under Arizona's Trade Practice Laws, suggests that caller ID spoofing is illegal for all manner of business within the State.
Additionally, title 44-1376.01 of the Arizona Revised Statutes makes it illegal for anyone to procure, attempt to procure, or conspire with another party to acquire a public utility record, a telephone record, or communication service record of any resident of this state. It is unlawful to do so without the authorization of the customer to whom the record belongs, as this is fraudulent and deceptive. However, the law does not apply to Arizona's Corporation Commission.
Arizona's telephone laws are in line with the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009. Penalties of between $10,000 to $1,000,000 for each violation of the act can be imposed on offenders. The FCC mandates that by June 2021, all originating and terminating voice service providers must implement caller ID authentication using the STIR/SHAKEN protocols.
What are Common Phone Scams involving Caller ID Spoofing Arizona?
Spoofing has increased the success rate of fraudulent activities in the state. It is expected that residents contact a reverse phone number service provider or use any reverse phone lookup tool. Residents who have experienced phone spoofing scams should file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Residents may also contact the FCC by calling 1-888-CALL FCC (225-5322). Alternatively, residents can file and submit a complaint to Arizona's Attorney General's Office. Some common crimes facilitated by spoofing in Arizona include:
- Law enforcement impersonation scams
- Tech support scams
- Foreclosure rescue scheme
- Telemarketing scams
- Insurance scams
- Cell phone service