Caller ID Spoofing Gives Rise to a New Level of Identity Theft

In recent news, there has been a lot of attention given to a new way in which potential thieves are accessing our personal information. Although criminals have been using something known as ‘caller ID spoofing’ for years to defraud consumers out of money, it is now feared that they will be using spoofing to steal our identities in order to charge thousands of dollars against our name.

What Is Caller ID Spoofing?

Anyone old enough to remember back to the days when caller ID first came out will remember the joy we felt at being able to tell whether or not we wanted to answer the phone. “Oh, it’s just my mother-in-law, let’s pretend we aren’t here!” For years this helped us to avoid the ‘bill collectors’ if we didn’t have the money to pay or to avoid those annoying sales pitches during dinner. However, new technology is able to make it appear as though the person calling is other than who they are. In other words, if you subscribe to a caller ID spoofing service you simply tell the program what number you would like to pop up on the recipient’s caller ID and that’s just who they think you are.

How Caller ID Spoofing Can Affect Your Credit

Consider for a moment that with this service it makes it possible for thieves to access your bank account via telephone to gain information such as how much money you have in the bank, where you made your most recent purchases and even what kinds of deposits are automatically made to your account each month – and worse yet, what day of the month they are made! Remember, the bank’s automated system ‘thinks’ the call is coming from your phone number and will then start detailing the items requested.

Chase and Bank of America Not Well Protected

In an article posted in the New York Times, a consumer advocate named Edgar Dworsky put the theory to the test. Armed with just a bit of the consumer’s personal information, Mr. Dworsky called the automated systems of Chase and Bank of America for credit card holders. The article refrained from stating what that information is for fear of unleashing further thieves on an unsuspecting world, but the article did go on to say that Dworsky was successful at both of those financial institutions. The automated systems recognized the spoofed phone number as being that of the consumer and proceeded to give over the information Dworsky requested.

Not Enough Being Done to Protect Consumers

According to the article in the Times, both phone companies and card issuers can do more to protect their consumers but strict enough measures are not being taken. It is reported that their excuse is in terms of customer convenience. Bank of America and Chase are reported as saying that customers use automated systems for the convenience and that if they have to enter too much identifying information it will just defeat the purpose. However, given the choice between being left open to identity theft and a bit of inconvenience, most consumers would probably gladly spend a few extra moments entering identifying info.

At a time when we are having enough problems keeping up with our credit report and maintaining creditworthiness with a decent credit score, caller ID spoofing is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Since there is no immediate solution to the problem, it is recommended that you continually monitor your credit report and make doubly certain you never divulge your information to anyone on the other end of the line unless you are 100% sure you know the identity of the caller. Until stronger security measures are in place, this may be your best line of defense.