What is Alaska Phone Spoofing?
Phone spoofing happens when a caller knowingly transmits a misleading or inaccurate phone number and/or name to a call recipient’s caller ID display to conceal their true identity. Fraudsters who engage in this practice often spoof legitimate entities’ phone numbers to get their targets to answer their phones. They also sometimes target residents with calls bearing their local area codes in what is known as neighbor spoofing. Phone spoofing enables scammers to increase the chances of extorting their targets and obtaining sensitive information.
Internet telephony services like VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) also facilitates phone spoofing. However, not all use of phone spoofing is illegal. Organizations involved in providing shelters for victims of domestic violence employ caller ID spoofing legitimately for security purposes.
In the United States, phone spoofing is considered unlawful when used for fraudulent purposes. The Truth in the Caller Act of 2009 is federal legislation that forbids Caller ID spoofing with malicious intent. The Act recommends civil fines as appropriate penalties for individuals and entities that violate its provisions. Residents are, however, legally permitted to block their identities on outbound calls while law enforcement officers can spoof their numbers for security reasons. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates all communications within the United States.
The following are some regular use of illegal phone spoofing in Alaska:
Fraudsters spoof phone numbers of reputable businesses or government agencies and solicit money or sensitive information from their targets while pretending to be with such entities. Using phone lookup tools can help retrieve the identities of these types of callers.
Harassment and prank calls are a common misuse of caller ID spoofing. These practices are usually used for making fun, jokes, or mischief. Harassment calls are annoying and are aimed at distracting their marks. They can also cause grave consequences in situations like swatting, where pranksters falsely alert law enforcement authorities of crimes. The United States Telecommunications Act stipulates stiff penalties for persons convicted of engaging innocent residents with abusive, harassing, or threatening calls.
Fraudulent Robocalls/Telemarketing scams
Scammers use spoofed robocalls to get their targets to answer their phones and then extort them. Such calls usually appear to originate from familiar businesses or government agencies. Residents who have fallen victim to spoofed robocalls can file complaints with the FCC.
Why Is Phone Spoofing Illegal?
Caller ID spoofing is illegal when it is used for deceptive motives and crimes. The Truth in the Caller Act of 2009 prohibits the deliberate manipulation of caller ID information to defraud, cause damage, or wrongfully dispossess American residents. The Act authorizes FCC to pursue and enforce some penalties against persons or entities who contravene its provisions. Violations are punishable by fines of up to $10,000 per offense, but incarceration penalties are steadily becoming adopted by some states. Law enforcement agents are exempted by this law and can alter their caller ID information in the course of criminal investigations. Intelligence gathering state and federal institutions can also engage in phone spoofing for official purposes.
Phone spoofing makes it challenging for residents to identify scam calls by a mere glance at caller ID information. Phone scammers often take up the phone numbers of legitimate entities to fool their targets into taking their telephone calls and then defraud them. Reverse phone number lookup websites can help identify spoofed calls and avoid scams.
How Do You Know If Your Number Is Being Spoofed?
You can know this if several unknown numbers call or send text messages to you regarding a conversation you did not start. Some of the callers may also be familiar. Persons who spoof your phone number will do that primarily to perpetrate frauds, and you should report it to law enforcement once you realize this. You can also complain to the FCC online or call them on 1 (888) 225-5322 to avoid indictment for frauds or crimes.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Illegal Spoofed Calls?
Spoofed calls are often difficult to detect by ordinarily looking at your Caller ID information display. Reverse phone lookup searches can, however, help you recognize them and avoid phone spoofing scams. The following options offer significant defense against illegally spoofed calls:
- Ignore calls from unknown or unverified origins. You can allow such phone calls to go to your voicemail machine.
- Never provide “yes or no” answers to questions by unknown callers. Fraudsters often use these recorded responses to confirm fraudulent credit card transactions.
- End a phone call if an automated voice instructs you to press a number to either opt out or speak to a live agent. Phone scammers frequently engage in robocall spoofing.
- Be wary of persons who call you with phone numbers of legitimate entities and ask for your sensitive personal information. Representatives of legitimate businesses and government agencies will never request such over the phone.
- Use the call-blocking tools provided by your phone company to block identified spoofed numbers. You can also download and install third-party call-blocking applications and use them to bar any spoofed call that comes through your phone.
- Add your phone number to the FTC’s National Do Not Call Register to reduce spoofed robocalls.
- File complaints of illegally spoofed calls with the FCC.
Does Alaska Have Anti-Spoofing Laws?
In January 2007, Alaska State Rep. Bob Lynn introduced HB 7 to tackle illegal caller ID spoofing. The bill entitled an “Act relating to False Caller ID Spoofing” was aimed at making phone spoofing a misdemeanor. It was forwarded to the Senate on March 16, 2007, after passing three readings and an amendment at the House. The Senate had its first reading on March 19, 2007, and then referred it to the Judiciary and Finance Committee on February 1, 2008.
The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 in the U.S. prohibits any person or entity from deliberately using falsified or altered caller ID information for fraudulent activities. Persons who violate this legislation risk punishment by fines that range from $10,000 to $1,000,000. Law enforcement officers are excluded from this law, especially while dealing with criminal investigations. The FCC, through this Act, mandated all telephone service providers to implement the STIR/SHAKEN protocols on their respective networks by June 2021. These protocols will enable caller ID authentication by service providers at the points where phone calls originate and terminate.
What are Common Phone Scams involving Caller ID Spoofing in Alaska?
Phone spoofing scams, often committed using illegally spoofed calls, have become a menace in Alaska owing to the widespread adoption of internet calls. Scammers often spoof phone numbers in an attempt to fool residents into believing their telephone calls are legitimate. Register the reports of phone spoofing to the FCC and FTC by calling 1-888-CALL FCC (225-5322) and 1 (888) 382-1222, respectively.
The following phone scams generally use caller ID spoofing in the State of Alaska:
- Utility scams
- Jury duty scams
- Grandparent scams
- Tech support scams
- IRS scams
- Telemarketing scams
- Social security scams