Deceptive Digits

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

(WFLX) - Almost everyone uses caller ID these days, and while many use it to protect privacy and screen phone calls, that option is being taken away by an activity called spoofing.

"For the past two weeks, my man said he had to work late. But every time I call him, it went to straight to voicemail," said one woman we spoke with.

Want to see what your man's really doing? "I know there's no meeting at 9 O'clock at night."

How about getting into someone's bank account?

It's deceptive, and depending on how you use it, illegal. But it's available and very easy to do. It's called spoofing. "You can masquerade an e-mail, a telephone number or a text message, and make it look like it came from someone else," said Greg Evans.

Evans, who owns SpoofEm.com, says all the user has to do is enter the number they want to show up on your caller ID. "It can be all zeros, and you can change your voice."

Then, a spoofer dials the digits they want to call. And if you don't password protect your voicemail, like many iPhone users with visual voicemail, and someone spoofs you, people can your check your messages.

If that isn't scary enough, spoofing helps scam artists cheat millions of Americans. It only cost $10 for 60 minutes of spoofing.

And as the economy goes down, Dick Eppstein with the Better Business Bureau says the number of victims will only go up. "Understand this exists an you cannot trust your caller ID."

Now, there was a bill proposed to Congress in 2007 that would have prohibited the sale of caller ID spoofing services, but it never passed.