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Not a lot of people are aware but telephone harassment is considered a crime. If you are continuously receiving an obscene or threatening call, you can actually trace its source and get assistance from local law enforcement. This is also the case if you are receiving a call from a private or blocked phone number. The only thing you need to do is to know how to trace a spoofed call to uncover the number.
What Is Spoofing?
Spoofing is considered a cyberattack that scammers use to gain access to their victims’ data. It can happen in a variety of ways, such as a text, IP address, email, server, website, or even a phone call. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) describes spoofing as a deliberate call that “falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity.”
One way that scammers perform call spoofing is by using neighbor spoofing to make it seem like the incoming call is from the same area code, a known company, or even a government agency. They do this because it is a phone number that people would otherwise know and trust. Once you pick up the call, they will use their scam script to try and extract valuable personal information or money from you. If it is the former, they will use it for fraudulent activities.
Here are some signs that you are getting a call from a spoof phone number:
- You are consistently getting calls from an unknown number.
- You are getting responses to texts or calls that you did not initiate
- Your Caller ID says “911” or “911 Emergency”
These are calls that usually come from a fake phone number. You should avoid picking up your phone or hang up the call immediately.
Is It Possible To Trace Who Just Called?
Knowing that scam and spam calls are so frequent these days, it’s important to know how to uncover a spoofed Caller ID. But the question on everyone’s minds is: Can you trace a spoofed number? Considering you may be getting a call from an “Unknown” number, the first thing that may come to mind is that this is not possible.
It may be so easy to advise someone to avoid picking up a call from an unknown caller. But if you’re someone who’s waiting for a callback from a job interview or a client, this is something that you cannot do. Instead, you just have to answer the call and pray that you won’t fall victim to such scams.
The good news is, there are a few ways you can figure out who is calling you from either a blocked or an unknown number. And we’ll discuss that below.
Is Spoofing Legal?
Before anything else, let’s talk about whether or not spoofing is legal. Unfortunately, there are real and legitimate businesses that are the reason why call masking remains legal. The reasons why they are masking their numbers is so they can handle calls efficiently. They are not necessarily trying to deceive customers simply because they are hiding their phone numbers.
In fact, legitimate businesses comply with the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, which states: “It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, in connection with any real time voice communications service, regardless of the technology or network utilized, to cause any caller ID service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information, with the intent to defraud or deceive.”
Simply put, it all boils down to the intent of the caller. Is the phone number being masked for business convenience or for malicious purposes?
Legal Ways of Spoofing
Legal spoofing is done “within the rules set down by the FCC.” If the phone number accurately represents the individual making the call or it is showing the name of the business, then it is legal. As long as you can call it back, the business is not breaking any rules.
Some examples of legal spoofing include:
- Medical professionals spoof their numbers so that their personal phone number is not revealed.
- Telemarketers calling on behalf of the company have a spoofed phone number for callback.
- Businesses with a toll-free number spoof their numbers so they can display a toll-free number on the Caller ID.
It is important to note that the FCC frequently changes its rules to make it easier to identify legally spoofed calls.
Illegal Ways of Spoofing
The FCC prohibits anyone to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information, especially if their purpose for doing so is to defraud, cause harm, or obtain something of value. Anyone found guilty of illegal spoofing may face a penalty of up to $10,000 for every violation. Spoofing is only illegal when it does not comply with the rules set by the FCC.
Some examples of illegal spoofing include the following:
- Imposters using a spoofed phone number and impersonating as a Social Security employee in order to obtain such information
- Tech support schemes with callers impersonating as an employee of a tech company
- Healthcare scams where the caller is using a spoofed phone number claiming to be a relative of someone in the hospital in need of money for medical assistance
Ways To Trace A Spoofed Call
So how to trace a spoofed number? Here are a few tips on how you can identify whether a number has been spoofed:
- Call the number calling you. If you happen to answer the call, you can give the phone number a call using a different phone. If the line is busy, then they are calling you from that number and it is not spoofed.
- Call the company. If the caller identified himself to be an employee of a certain company, you can give that person a callback after you confirm it with the organization.
- Google the phone number. You can also conduct a basic web search to cross-reference it with any of the numbers posted online. There are plenty of people who usually post the numbers that scammers use so you might get some information that can help.
- Use an app. There are several apps that you can use these days to help you determine the real number of a spoofed call.
There’s no completely accurate way to determine whether a number has been spoofed. These tips, however, will help you know how to trace spoofed numbers.
Best Way To Trace Spoofed Number
You can now use an app to determine the phone number of an individual pretending to be someone else. The good news is there are plenty of tools on the market that provide this feature. ClickSearch is just one of the apps that can do this.
So can a spoofed call be traced? Do a reverse phone lookup on ClickSearch to trace a spoofed number. They have a vast database of phone numbers to help you identify an unknown caller or figure out the sender of a suspicious text message.