If you’ve ever wanted to successfully trick a friend or loved one into believing your phone call originated from someone else or from an established entity ñ you’re in luck, because services like this have existed for quite some time. Several online companies allow you to create your own area code and prefixing number sequence, [...]
If you’ve ever wanted to successfully trick a friend or loved one into believing your phone call originated from someone else or from an established entity ñ you’re in luck, because services like this have existed for quite some time. Several online companies allow you to create your own area code and prefixing number sequence, enabling those who buy a number to be detailed in the falsehood they’re trying to convey. For example a jokester dad might call his daughter pretending to be her most loved male celebrity with a California area code to seal the sell.
This service has its well-intentioned non-prank purposes: a lawyer may wish to call a client from home but keep his home number a secret, adult phone services might use this to prevent clients from finding the real locations of their conversation partners, et cetera. But according to co-founder of Secure Science Lance James, nearly three-fourths of ID spoofing profits come from those using the service for illegitimate purposes. This illegitimate activity is known as vishing, which is similar to phishing. The difference, and an important one, is that those who commit vishing fraud are using the telephone to make contact with their victims. The trusted nature of the landline telephone makes these kinds of scams easier to execute. By using an online service that allows them to falsify their phone listing, these perpetrators can hop from one number to the next and avoid detection. They can even prepare themselves for the savvier of the saps they target by making sure the area code looks legitimate.
Companies intentionally offering false numbers aren’t the only tools these crooks use. Services like Skype and other VoIPs typically hand out a number for any new user. This allows folks to create multiple accounts and therefore collect multiple numbers. All they need is to keep making new email addresses to use for the registration process.
While Skype and friends are for the most part used for legitimate communications needs, the same cannot be said for sites like Spoofcard.com which make most of their money from crooked clientele. Anyone who uses these kinds of sites for prank calls or otherwise, is unfortunately contributing to the enormous amount of internet based identity theft that plagues our modern society. Lawmakers will eventually decide how legal these sites are but it’s up to you to decide whether you want to give them your money.
In the meantime, protect yourself against these scams by always using reverse phone lookup when you’ve received a suspicious call regarding your personal finance information. Typically the stink of these scams can be smelled from a mile away by anyone with even the remotest of Internet savvy, but always double check just to make sure.
Otherwise, consider this article before sending your money to one of these spoof ID businesses, and if you need this service for a legitimate reason seek out a company who guarantees not to do business with vishers. But with 75% of their business coming from such activity, that might be easier said than done.