Phone spoofing is simply a way of faking the number on a call recipient's Caller ID information display. Caller ID spoofing is, however, not the same as number blocking. Telephone calls from blocked numbers do not send the caller information. Such calls show up as "unknown numbers" or "private" on the called parties' phone. There are legitimate reasons to disguise Caller IDs in Colorado. Medical doctors can spoof Caller IDs when calling patients from their private phones. In the same manner, it is not uncommon for law enforcement officers to adopt their Offices' Caller IDs. Phone spoofing allows them to remain anonymous, especially when investigating criminal cases and making contacts from their phone lines.
Various companies offer spoofing services at relatively cheap costs. Many mobile applications also provide this service, which makes it easily accessible for phone scammers' use. Caller ID spoofing allows scammers to transmit and twist Caller ID information to defraud naive individuals. Those types of spoofing are illegal because they are for malicious purposes. One of the top consumer protection priorities of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is combating ill-disposed Caller ID spoofing. Some illegitimate use of phone spoofing in Colorado include:
FBI Impersonation Scams
Fraudsters spoof Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Denver Caller ID to rip off Coloradans. The callers pretend to be an agent of the FBI and intimidate their targets. They may claim that their targets owe some money to the government and must pay immediately to avoid arrest. There are times when these scammers may inform their marks of federal warrants issued for their arrest, and then demand payment to dismiss such warrants.
Scammers often contact residents of Colorado with spoofed robocalls in manners that make them appear to be legitimate telemarketing companies. They attempt to sell fake services to cheat their targets out of money and sometimes to obtain sensitive personal information. Spoofed robocalls are also used to detect active phone numbers for subsequent contacts to defraud phone users.
Doing reverse phone lookups on incoming calls can help determine spoofed phone calls and avoid scams. Coloradans who fall victim to phone spoofing scams can file their complaints online with the FCC.
Why Is Phone Spoofing Illegal?
Phone spoofing is generally not illegal, as believed by many. However, it is unlawful and criminal to misrepresent Caller ID information to harm or defraud people in Colorado. The Truth in Caller ID Act even corroborates this. According to the Act, it is unlawful for any person in the United States, in connection with any telecommunications service, to cause any caller identification to transmit misleading or inaccurate Caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.
The role of spoofing in Colorado phone scams is enormous. It is easy for scammers to take up any identity they wish to impersonate. Doing reverse phone lookup on incoming calls can help Coloradans identify spoofed calls and avoid scams. Often, they imitate the Caller IDs of legitimate organizations, familiar individuals, and government agencies to fool their targets and cheat them out of money. Spoofing is not limited to live calls only. Phone scammers also spoof text messages and robocalls in an attempt to steal money and obtain their targets' personal information for identity theft.
How Do You Know If Your Number Is Being Spoofed?
Phone scammers also spoof individuals Caller IDs in their fraudulent schemes. In most cases, such scam calls are targeted at the spoofing victims' loved ones to rip them off. Also, scammers can spoof random Caller IDs. Whichever way, once you begin to get text messages and phone calls from different strange numbers, your number is possibly being spoofed. Some of the callers may inform you they missed your call or got text messages from you. To avoid criminal implications, report it to your local law enforcement agency and telephone company.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Illegal Spoofed Calls?
The phone number that displays on your Caller ID for an incoming call may appear as though it is coming from a legitimate business or government agency. It is vital to state that not all of these calls are legitimate. Some of them are spoofed with the intent of stealing. To identify an illegal spoofed call, you can run the caller's number through applications that offer phone lookup services. Protect yourself from phone spoofing scams by doing the following:
- Register your number on the National Do Not Call Registry and Colorado Do-Not-Call List to reduce the inundation of robocalls, including spoofed ones. To join the DNC list, call 1 (888) 382-1222 from the number you wish to register.
- Exercise caution if an unknown person asks you to provide personal information such as social security number, PIN, or bank information over the phone. Such persons usually claim to be with the government.
- File the complaint of a spoofed robocall online with the FCC. You can also report phone spoofing scams to the FTC using their online complaint assistant. If you suspect a phone spoofing fraud, immediately engage your local law enforcement.
- Use the call-blocking options available to you to block or filter unsolicited and telemarketing spoofed calls. Such choices include the built-in call-blocking features of cell phones or other third-party applications.
Does Colorado Have Anti-Spoofing Laws?
While there is currently no law against spoofing in Colorado, the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 applies to all states of the nation, including Colorado. The Act prohibits the falsification of Caller identification (ID) intended to harm, defraud, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. There are, however, some exemptions. These include authorized activities of law enforcement agencies and court-ordered Caller ID manipulation. The Office of the Colorado Attorney General (COAG) is allowed to enforce the provisions of this Act. It must nevertheless do so with the authorized backing of the FCC.
Senator Bill Benson introduced this law, designated S.30, on the floor of the Senate on January 07, 2009, to amend the Communications Act of 1934. It passed some readings and amendments between 2009 and 2010, at both the Senate and the House. The president finally assented to this bill on December 22, 2010, and it became public law. Each violation of this Act attracts a penalty that shall not exceed $10,000 as determined by the FCC. There shall be a penalty of three times that amount for each day of a continuing violation.
What are Common Phone Scams involving Caller ID Spoofing in Colorado?
The goal of illegal Caller ID spoofing is to get targeted persons to answer their calls, which often led to scams. The commonly spoofed Caller IDs in Colorado are those of familiar legitimate businesses and government agencies. Residents are more inclined to attend to phone calls from these entities rather than those from unknown numbers. It is possible to avoid falling victim to Caller ID spoofing scams by using reverse phone number lookup services. The popular phone scams involving Caller ID spoofing in Colorado include:
- Telemarketing scams
- Charity scams
- Debt collection scams
- Emergency scams
- Government Grant scams
- Health insurance scams
- IRS scams
- Jury duty scams
- Tech support scams
- COVID-19 scams
- Debt relief scams
- Utility scams
- Sweepstakes scams
- Social security scams