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Caller ID Spoofing: What is it and how to avoid it? 

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Have you ever received a call from a number that looked familiar, only to realize it was a scammer trying to trick you? This is called Caller ID Spoofing, and it's rapidly becoming one of the top choices for scammers

The practice involves falsifying the information that appears on your phone's caller ID display to make it look like someone else is calling. In this post, we'll explain what Caller ID Spoofing is, its various types, and why it can lead to devastating losses. We'll cover common spoofing scam examples and provide tips on how to avoid them. In case you suspect you've been a victim of a spoofing attack, we'll also equip you with steps to take in order to avoid or minimize the damage. Read on and stay safe! 

Understanding Caller ID Spoofing 

The concept of caller ID spoofing involves the manipulation of call receiver perception by displaying false phone numbers. In the case of a scam, the goal to conceal the scammer's true identity. It can also enhance their appearance when impersonating a well-known institution, such as a bank.   

Picture this – you've received a call, and the displayed number indicates that it is coming from your bank. You answer the phone only to get a cold shower – your account has been hacked, and the person on the other end is demanding urgent action from your side. You need to prove your identity by revealing sensitive information to the person on the call. Without much hesitation, you follow every given instruction. As the call ends, you check your bank account only to find out that everything looks normal. Only then do you realize that the person on the call was the true scammer and you need to protect your bank account ''all over again''. 

The scam described above is a vishing (voice phishing) scam, and attackers often include caller ID spoofing in order to appear more credible to the victim. By seeing a familiar number on your phone display, they have already earned your trust – the one action scammers are betting on is getting you to answer that call.  

The Many Types of Spoofing 

Spoofing can take on many forms, and each one comes with a unique set of security risks and challenges. Among the most common ones are email spoofing, website spoofing, SMS spoofing, and caller ID spoofing. The following paragraphs will give you a good idea about how each of them works.  

Email Spoofing 

Email spoofing, a deceptive tactic often combined with phishing attacks, involves the sending of emails with fake sender addresses. Scammers utilize this method to impersonate reputable entities, such as financial institutions, in order to deceive recipients into revealing sensitive data or clicking on malicious links. This activity can result in unauthorized access to personal and financial information. Warning signs, such as unexpected requests for sensitive information, demanding urgent action from the victim's side, and spelling errors are frequently present in spoofed emails. 

Find out more about the dangers of phishing attacks in our recent blog post.  

Website Spoofing 

Online scammers engage in website spoofing by creating deceptive websites that mimic legitimate ones. Their goal? Tricking the visitors into revealing sensitive information, of course. This fraudulent tactic poses significant risks to online security and consumer protection, as unsuspecting individuals disclose personal or financial details by willingly typing them into fake website forms.  

SMS Spoofing 

SMS spoofing allows scammers to alter the sender's information, often including links to phishing websites or scam content. Scammers use this method for various types of fraud and social engineering schemes, making the texts appear to be from known contacts to enhance credibility – smishing attacks. Being alert at all times is crucial when dealing with text messages to avoid falling victim to such scams. 

Caller ID or Phone Spoofing 

Caller ID spoofing is used by scammers to manipulate caller IDs by altering displayed information and making calls seem local, familiar. It's a way for scammers to increase the likelihood of successful deception and potential unauthorized access to sensitive data. In cases where victims reveal sensitive and financial information, the consequences can be devastating.  

4 signs of phone spoofing to be aware of 

Now that you know what caller ID spoofing is, you might wonder ''How can I avoid spoofed calls and protect myself from falling victim''. Keep an eye out for the following red flags:  

1. Check the call number 

The name displayed on your phone screen might be familiar, but what about the number the call is coming from? If you feel that the number does not match the displayed name – the chances of a spoofed call are pretty high.  

2. Pre-recorded messages 

Robocalls are also a means for attackers to scale their efforts at scamming victims. If you receive a call with an automated message demanding you to follow instructions, type certain numbers, or answer yes or no questions, simply hang up. Treat it as a spam call – better safe than sorry.  

3. Urgent matters 

The scammers want to cloud your judgment by putting you in a stressful situation. Claiming your bank account is under a hacker attack seems pretty stressful to me. When they get you in a state of fear and panic, they can easily manipulate you into following their orders. So, beware of requests that require urgent action from your side, and think twice about who might be on the other side of the call.  

4. Sketchy display names 

Subtle differences in how the contact name appears on your display matter. For example, if you know that the contact is saved as Anne Roberts, and the incoming call is coming from ''Annie Roberts'' – it's probably a scam.  

Reporting Caller ID Spoofing 

If you suspect caller ID spoofing, report the incident to the local authorities and provide detailed information about the call, including the caller's number, date, and time. Reporting spoofing attempts is crucial, as it helps authorities track and prevent fraudulent activities. Additionally, contact your phone service provider to report suspicious calls or unauthorized access, and be proactive in reporting spoofing attempts to protect others from falling victim. 

What Should You Do if You've Been Spoofed? 

If you suspect you're a spoofing victim, act quickly. Contact your phone service provider, change passwords and access codes, report the incident to authorities, inform financial institutions, and remain alert for further fraudulent activity. 

Caller ID Spoofing FAQ

In case you're getting phone calls that claim you've been calling them and you have no recollection of such events, your phone number is likely spoofed. 

Fairly easy. Spoofing tools can legally be downloaded for free, and this is what makes these types of attacks extremely simple to conduct.  

It depends. The law prohibits users from sending misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, impersonate, or wrongly obtain anything of value. 

Although caller ID spoofing is predominantly used by scammers, there are a few legitimate use cases, such as law enforcement and journalists using spoofing in order to conceal their identity, location, or phone number.  

Neighbour spoofing is a deceitful tactic used by scammers to up their chances of getting you to pick up the phone call. They do it by making the incoming call's display number very similar to yours. E.g., if your phone number is +222 222 222, you can receive a call from +222 222 223.  

HOW CAN ASEE HELP? 

Are you experiencing issues with social engineering attempts targeting your clients? We'll gladly offer guidance and help you protect your business and your customers.

Feel free to contact us – zero obligation. Our ASEE team will be happy to hear you out. 

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