Caller ID Spoofing is no fun for the Owner or Recipient
Jokes and pranks are all fun and games until you are on the receiving end. Some people can take a joke, but when it’s a joke that involves their business, livelihood, or their lifeline to the world, then it’s no laughing matter. Lately, Caller ID Spoofing has become the domain of scams and debt-collectors. And both the owners of the numbers and recipients of these calls are getting shafted.
It’s always someone else’s problem until it’s your problem and recently it became mine. In Mid October of 2015 I noticed that I couldn’t make any calls from my cellphone. Every number that I dialed returned the Routing Error message of three ascending tones and the response, “The number you have dialed has been disconnected or is no longer in service, please recheck the number and dial again.” Every single number that I dialed had the same response and it was getting very annoying.
I finally narrowed the problem down to the call forwarding service (Google Voice) that I had been using for many years. Apparently, when I tried to dial out with the forwarding service, the system needed a valid carrier connection. That connection had been labeled as a spammy number by another phone company and so when I was dialing every call was being blocked. After a great deal of testing, both with apps, the phone, and another cellphone, I resigned to using a VoIP app (Google Hangouts) to make all my calls. This was not ideal, but it could work.
The answer to my issue came the following day when I received a call FROM MY CELLPHONE. My cell number called my Google Voice number — of all the weird things to happen — and I realized what I needed to do. I called my carrier and had them give me a brand new number. (Recently where I live a new area code had been set because of the population increase.) This new number had never belonged to anyone and would be free of the issues that prior numbers usually had.
Immediately I could call out again, the problem had been resolved. I only spent about 4 hours with Google and with my carrier to resolve this issue, and fortunately I have a forwarding number, so that I can change my carrier number without much hassle. But for all the other people who do not use Google Voice or some forwarding service, when they get a spoofed number they have less immediate recourse.
As technology improves and we see more that a tool can be used both by regular citizens as well as criminals, we will need to become more vigilant in our design as well as use. Telecommunications have drastically changed our society and we need to respect that change as we move into the future. Legislation is only one way to resolve these issues, right thinking and acting will help curb the misuse of such tools.