What is New Hampshire Phone Spoofing?
Phone spoofing is a technology that allows a caller to deliberately falsify the information transmitted to the recipient's caller ID display in order to disguise identity and make it appear like the caller is calling from a specific location. It is a common practice among scammers to use phone spoofing to mask their true identities in order to steal money or obtain sensitive information from New Hampshire residents.
Phone spoofing has recently been on the rise due to the increase in the use of internet call technology, with many VoIP service providers allowing callers to set a unique caller ID number for each call that passes through their gateway, even if all the calls are originating from one party. In the past, spoofing a number required using fairly complex hardware and expensive solutions, however, much cheaper solutions that can be automated are now available online and on mobile devices which has increased the appeal of using spoofing technology.
Phone spoofing technology is not illegal in the United States. However, it is illegal, if anyone spoofs a phone number with the intention to defraud, cause harm, or obtain any valuable item. There are legitimate purposes for altering the caller ID provided when placing a call. For instance, a call center that places legitimate calls on behalf of several clients may alter the caller ID information to accurately display their client's name and phone number, or a doctor calling to discuss a patient's results may want the hospital's phone number to be displayed in the caller ID information in order to direct all future inquiries appropriately.
Some of the common phone spoofing crimes in New Hampshire are listed below.
Most impersonation scams are based on trust. With caller ID spoofing, scammers can trick a recipient's caller ID to display information from a reputable business or government agency, thereby increasing the chances that the caller will answer the call. IRS scam is a common example of an impersonation scam. Here, a scammer falsifies the caller ID to appear like it is coming from the IRS and then uses scare and pressure tactics to extort money from unsuspecting residents.
Intimidation and Harassment
Caller ID spoofing is sometimes seen by scammers as a means for violating orders or protection, stalking, harassing, or simply contacting victims. Abusers use phone spoofing technology to harass and stalk their victims in a variety of ways, such as calling the victims repeatedly. The calls may be of a threatening nature or simply numerous calls and hang-ups throughout the day. In some instances, abusers spoof victims' numbers to call victims multiple times, leading to the victims' phone numbers displaying on the caller IDs. This creates an impression that the abusers are calling from within the victims' homes, causing the victims to fear for their safety.
Illegal telemarketers use spoofing technology to pose as legitimate telemarketers trying to sell products or services to New Hampshire residents. Many of these fake telemarketers utilize robocalls to contact residents. Robocalls are automated phone calls used to deliver pre-recorded messages to call recipients. The robocalls may instruct recipients to press a number to speak to live agents or trick them into completing surveys that are designed to steal sensitive information. Recipients who choose to speak to live agents risk falling prey to several schemes, such as bogus investments and phony products.
How Do You Know If Your Number Is Being Spoofed?
Getting responses from several persons to communications you did not initiate is one strong sign that your number has spoofed. These responses may come in the form of multiple calls or text messages. Therefore, if you suddenly start receiving a myriad of calls on a particular subject you are unfamiliar with, you should file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). You may also leave a note in your voicemail informing callers that your phone number has been spoofed.
Why is Phone Spoofing Illegal?
Citizens rely on caller ID information to make decisions about what calls to accept or ignore. Hence, accurate caller ID information is a vital tool used by residents to protect their privacy, avoid fraud, and ensure peace of mind. Spoofing caller ID information for the purposes of illegal telemarketing, intimidation, harassment, and impersonation represents a violation of federal law.
The federal Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 prohibits any individual from falsifying or faking phone numbers with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. Spoofing for specific law enforcement purposes is exempt from this law, and customers can remain anonymous and not transmit any identification information at all.
How Can You Identify and Protect Yourself from Illegal Spoofed Calls?
Increasingly, crooked persons use inexpensive third-party services to spoof the caller ID information of businesses, government agencies, and other legitimate sources in order to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information and facilitate other criminal activities. Hence, it is becoming more difficult to identify or track spoofed phone calls. Some of the measures that can be taken to prevent falling victim to phone scams in New Hampshire are listed below.
- Never give out personal information, such as passwords, account numbers, or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls.
- If you receive a call and you suspect caller ID information has been falsified, file a complaint with the FCC.
- Hang up on robocalls. If you receive a phone call and hear pre-recorded messages, hang up immediately.
- Be wary of repeated calls from IDs that appear to be from legitimate businesses or agencies that fail to leave any message. They are probably spoofed calls. Block such numbers from subsequently reaching you.
- Download and install a call-blocking application, such as YouMail, Hiya, Nomorobo, or Truecaller on your phone. These will help block unwanted calls.
- Add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry. Legitimate telemarketers do not call numbers on the DNC registry. If you still receive phone calls from telemarketers 31 days after adding your number to the registry, chances are that those are from scammers.
Does New Hampshire Have Anti-Spoofing Laws?
Signed by Governor Sununu on July 15, 2019, New Hampshire HB 577 prohibits phone spoofing by telephone solicitors and calls made by automatic dialing machines. The law states that "No person using an automated telephone dialing system or any other method for solicitation shall use any method, including per-call blocking or per-line blocking, to prevent caller identification information from being received by the called party station. The New Hampshire HB 577 was sponsored by Representatives David Luneau and Edward Gordon. The Act went into effect on January 01, 2020.
The New Hampshire Department of Justice is authorized to investigate any complaints received concerning violations of HB 577 and may impose a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per violation. Since this law only affects telephone solicitors and calls made with automated dialing machines, individuals who utilize phone spoofing technology are not affected.
What are Common Phone Scams involving Caller ID Spoofing in New Hampshire?
Scammers are becoming savvier by exploiting recent technologies to mask their true identities and thereby escaping liabilities. With rapidly developing technology, traditional telemarketing calls have turned into scam calls. Residents who have been targeted by phone spoofing scams can file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Residents may also contact the FCC by calling 1-888-CALL FCC (225-5322). Some of the common phone spoofing scams that occur in New Hampshire are listed below:
- IRS scams
- Charity scams
- Social security scams
- Elderly scams
- Medicare scams
- Utility bill scams
- Tech support scams
- Employment security scams