Beware of “spoofing” calls

Dear Editor:

I am so mad! I just put down my tools and hurried to the phone because the caller ID said it was the neighbor who cares for our cats when we are away. Of course, you know where this is going— it was a “spoofed” call, using not only a local number, but my friend’s name!

What made me even madder, though, was when I called my phone provider to report this and to see if there was anything I could do. I was told by customer service that they did not know if the “spoofing” process is illegal (it is, there is a federal law). I was then told that all I could do is call the company’s unlawful call center by dialing “star 57” immediately after hanging up from the “spoofed” call. This records the source number (not my neighbor’s) and mine and I suppose some other information. Plus, making this call will involve the police in some way. I’m not sure about other information needed because that is all they could tell me.

I was pretty pleased about this until it was mentioned that there was a $5 charge for the reporting call and then a $6 charge for each case. So, if you report an illegal (federal law) call to the company that provides your phone service it costs you, the victim, a total of $11!

Where is the logic in that?

Things were bad enough when telemarketers started “spoofing” local numbers, but now they know who calls you and can duplicate not just the number but your friend’s name on your caller ID.

There has to be a way somehow to block this, and we as consumers need to be vocal about the need. If we do not make a fuss, nothing will be done, and the calls will intensify. I am talking about a land line, but I imagine the same problem will spread to cell phones — if it has not done so already.

My friend’s name and number have been essentially stolen; yours or mine may be next. So, if your phone caller ID shows my number and then my name and when you answer a voice begins asking if you want to reduce your credit card interest, trust me, it’s not me. Hang up.

Sue Shaw


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