About a month ago, the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed S.704, the “Truth in Caller ID Act of 2007”, a bill that would outlaw causing “any caller identification service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information” via “any telecommunications service or IP-enabled voice service.” Essentially this bill makes it a crime to spoof caller ID.
This bill doesn’t outlaw caller-ID blocking (and that’s a good thing), but makes it unlawful for anyone in the United States to use misleading or inaccurate caller ID information in connection with any telecommunications service (including Voice over IP ). For example, all those prank calls you made to your friends with the Caller ID “Dept of Homeland Security” will be illegal. Law enforcement and court ordered authorizations are exempt. A similar bill was recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, making it a real possibility of becoming law.
I really like this idea because I believe that people should not to be tricked into thinking that a call is from someone when it is actually from another person. I can see that debt collectors and foreclosure agents trying to get to consumers by using this means. Not to say that foreclosure agents and debt collectors don’t have a legitimate reason to call. Another big use of Caller ID spoofing is for pretexting, which is used to fraudulently obtain personal records of someone else. Pretexting has been a big issue lately.
The easiest way to spoof Caller ID is to Voice over IP (VoIP) or T1 PRI lines. Anyone can get a VoIP service, but T1 PRI lines are expensive because it has 23 phone lines and usually is for businesses.
There are several companies that offer Caller ID spoofing. Most of them work like a calling card, where the user dials a toll free number, and enters the pin number, desired Caller ID, and the number to call. Prices start at $10 for 60 minutes of talk time to U.S. and Canada numbers.
When the law passes, these companies will have to change their business model or go bust.
Some of the companies are: Telespoof, SpoofCard, and PhoneGangster (wow, nice name!)