“Why are you calling me?”. “Sorry, who is this?”. These are examples of the messages that I have experienced lots of times and come to the realization that someone is using my phone number! I am not alone, lots of users have had the same issue and it has a name; it’s called ‘Phone Spoofing’.
What Does Phone Spoofing Mean?
Phone spoofing is the process where a third party, a business, scammers, or even private investigators can get hold of my phone number and falsify my name or information from my phone to gain from it. So, for example, a scammer may get hold of my phone number to contact people to either sell or obtain anything valuable.
Is Phone Spoofing Illegal?
The FFC (Foreign Finance Corporation) states that businesses and companies can use phone spoofing as long as they follow their guidelines and regularly check that they are still within them, as they do change their names and contacts often.
Phone Spoofing is seen as illegal if it is having “intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value.” So scammers and some cold calling can be deemed illegal if they spoof my phone number, and I can take legal action against them in this instance.
So How Can I Stop This From Happening?
We recommend a few different ways to help if someone is using my phone number.
Change a phone number
It sounds like a simple solution, and it can be complicated to go through and change my number and details with every account and tell all my contacts. However, it is a definite first step to protect me from phone spoofers.
Recording a new voicemail
We would suggest doing this if either I am not changing my number or people still have my old one. This voicemail will help others realize that telemarketers or scammers have spoofed my number. Doing so could also then inform people if they need to block my number or not.
Recording a message similar to this would be helpful: “If you’re calling this number back in response to a call or message received from this number, please note that my phone number has been spoofed. It is currently being used by some telemarketers or scammers, who are using it without my permission. I’m sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you. However, for your security, please block this number and do not accept any calls from this number.”
Block any odd numbers
Make sure to block any unusual numbers as they happen. This way, I will get rid of the spoofers from my phone slowly, and this doesn’t stop them from using my number on other people.
Get a Filter App
There are apps like ‘Trucaller’ that will help me filter out and block unwanted numbers quicker. It is way more effective than doing it myself. Many of these apps are free, so it’s a simple solution to a highly complex issue.
Having my phone number stolen and used for others’ gain can be stressful. Hopefully, this bad experience has helped me learn and understand the steps I can take and how to stop someone from using my number. It may take some time, but it is possible to protect my phone number in the future.