Last week, we covered how scammers call pretending to be government officials in an effort to get your information. I also stated that these numbers came from 1-800 numbers as well as regular area codes, which if called back were either out of service or confused people! (Once again – DO NOT CALL THESE BACK ON YOUR PHONE! If you are curious, PLEASE use an internet phone that isn’t connected to your data such as POP-TOX, and for an extra layer of protection, use an incognito browser or BETTER YET – a VPN.)
I’d like to dig into why and how these people can use these numbers, and how you yourself may get a confusing phone call someday from someone who thinks your a scammer/the government!
And where did you find your information Sarah? Well, funny you’d ask but it’s once again directly from the Canadian Governments website! Surprisingly, this technology is actually used by call centers for trusted officials such as doctors and suchlike, in an effort to avoid confusion and easier calling back. Sadly, it’s also used by scammers to change the numbers incoming to your phone to make you believe it’s coming from another phone number.
What is Caller ID spoofing?
Your caller identification (Caller ID) display normally indicates the phone number and name associated with the line used to call you. There are, however, legitimate purposes for altering the Caller ID information provided when placing a call. For example, a call centre that places legitimate calls on behalf of multiple clients may alter the Caller ID information to accurately display their client’s name and telephone number, or a doctor calling to discuss a patient’s lab results may want the hospital’s general call back number to be displayed in the Caller ID in order to direct all future inquiries appropriately.https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/phone/telemarketing/identit.htm
Unfortunately, illegitimate telemarketers may change the information that appears on the Caller ID display (a practice known as Caller ID spoofing) to misrepresent themselves and to trick Canadians into answering the call. For example:
These types of Calls can be modified in many different ways, such as but not limited to:
- Matching the first 6-digits of your telephone number so that it looks like a local call, perhaps from a neighbour in your area, also known as ‘neighbouring.’
- Displaying your own telephone number, also known as ‘mirroring.’
- Displaying the number of another individual and/or organization (i.e., pose as a recognizable brand).
- Representing a number that cannot be dialed within the telephone network (e.g. 123-456-7890, 999-999-9999, etc.)
Well that’s scary! You may say, what am I to do about it?
The website quoted above also has a list of things you can do to protect yourself, the highlights being:
- Register your telephone number on the National Do Not Call List
- File a complaint about a telemarketing call.
- Check out the CRTC’s Telemarketing Consumer Alerts to help you identify spoofed calls.
- Exercise caution if you are asked to provide personal information (e.g., banking information, password). When in doubt, hang up and call the number on your account statement or the organization’s website.
- Certain calling options or features may be available to you to block or filter unsolicited and illegitimate telemarketing calls.
Stay safe out there my friends!
– Much love