Caller ID Spoofing Usage Guide
There is a wide range of uses for faking your caller ID, most media reports tend to point out and focus on the negative aspects. Below is a list of uses that are commonly associated with caller ID spoofing.
Spoofing Your Business Number
One of the more common uses of caller ID spoofing is done by businesses to show a business telephone number. This is typically done when a business has multiple outbound phone lines and they want a common single phone number to show up on caller ID. Small business owners may also have a desire to have their business number show up while calling from another phone line, such as their cell phone. In this latter case, business owners rely on caller ID spoofing to keep their other phone numbers private or to appear as if they are in their office.
Skip Tracers and Bounty Hunters
While searching for individuals that have skipped out on bail, Caller ID spoofing is a common method used by Bounty Hunters to track down their mark. If a person does not recognize the calling number, then they may be unwilling to answer the phone, especially if they are wanted for skipping out on their bail. However, conventional wisdom states that if a person sees a number they recognize, then they are more likely to answer the call and speak to whomever might be on the other end.
Pretexting – Social Engineering
Recently brought into the spotlight due to the Hewlett Packard Board incident, caller ID spoofing is used by Private Investigators to create a scenario and pose as another individual in an effort to acquire information or perform an action, that they might not otherwise be able to accomplish. Private Invesigators on behalf of the board of directors used pretexting to gain access to cell phone calling records of board members while investigating their own directors suspected of disseminating information to the media. Another example would be calling a restaurant that does delivery service to “confirm” an address on file. Unsuspecting phone operators would believe this is the customer calling and release the requested information.
In the recent past, Caller ID spoofing could be used to break into voicemail boxes with some phone cell phoneproviders. For a long time it was possible to retrieve anyone’s voicemail with Cingular now ATT, by utilizing fake caller ID. Typically a user will spoof the number of the phone that they want to break into, to a voicemail access number or directly to the phone; thus fooling the voicemail system into believing that the account holder was calling from their own phone.
Money transfer services, such as Western Union, rely on Caller ID for verification purposes for sending wire transfers online or over the phone. They verify that the sender is calling from their home phone number. Thieves will use these money transfer services and with faking the Caller ID of the person whose identity they have stolen, will verify money transfers they have placed.
911 Calls / Bomb Threats / etc…
Caller ID spoofing has certainly been used to fool 911 operators in the past, sometimes involving bomb threats or resulting in the dispatch of SWAT teams. See Phone Phreaks Use Caller-ID Spoofing to Get Foes Raided By SWAT
While it might be funny to prank your friends, it’s even more believable when you apply caller spoofing in your pranking endeavors. While most prank calls using Caller ID spoofing are harmless, it is a grey area of the law and you should obtain a proper legal counsultation first. They are popular for April Fool’s Day Pranks.