Did you know that the information provided on your caller ID may or may not be accurate?  Did you know that there are websites that offer caller ID spoofing (manipulation) as a service?  That is right, just pay a fee and you too can start caller ID spoofing.  Just one slight problem- it is illegal (Truth in Caller ID Act 2010) in the U.S.  Unfortunately criminals don't pay attention to what is and what is not illegal otherwise they  would not be criminals.

The reason I bring this up is because we were awoken to our nine year old daughter's cell phone ringing in the middle of the night.  The caller left a voice mail message stating he was a detective with a police department up north.  In his message he stated that someone using my daughter's phone had been making threatening and harassing phone calls in his area.  Now remember my daughter is nine years old.  She only uses the phone when she is away with Girl Scouts or staying at a friend's house.  What was even more strange is that over the course of the next two days an attorney and others left messages looking for a MR. (name I don't remember) and that he was to stop harassing them and/or their clients or face legal action.  At this time I had not yet heard back from the detective so I pulled the call log for my daughter's phone.  The only calls she made were to friends and family.  Finally I received a call from the detective.  I explained to him that the number he called was the number belonging to my daughter and that I had checked her call logs.  He said that someone was spoofing the caller ID using her number.  The caller pretended to be a debt collector in an attempt to gain personal identifying or financial information of unsuspecting victims.  When the potential victims would not disclose the information the man became verbally abusive and threatened the potential victims.  Of course the potential victims contacted law enforcement, their attorney or called the number back leaving an angry message on my daughter's phone. 

So the question is – just how did they get my daughter's number?  That appears to be a mystery.  We assume the fraudster randomly typed in the numbers as my daughter had limited usage of the internet, does not buy anything and if she uses our information to register for educational websites.  So the next time you get an unexpected call from someone asking for a donation, saying you won a prize or that you owe a debt when you know you do not  – don't believe the information listed on the caller ID.  Also, if you receive calls from an attorney or officer warning you about harassing phone calls don't just dismiss it.  You too might be a victim of caller ID spoofing.