Can Police Track You When You Spoof a Number

Can Police Track You When You Spoof a Number

Spoofing a number is a really sensitive matter, and you need to set right why do you want to do it in the first place. If you have no intentions to do any harm, by law you are allowed to do spoof a number.

However, if your actions are illegal and your intentions are misleading, and with the main goal to obtain certain information from another person, spoofing a number can cost you a lot of thousands in fines. 

Tracking a spoofed number is not easy. Sometimes the phone service provider can track down the origin of the call and the real number behind it, but this can be time-consuming. Police can also track the number, but only if there are records being kept. It is easier to track a mobile number, rather than a landline.

The police may not be able to catch you instantly, but they can eventually find out the origin of the call, and associate it with you. This is why it is best to stick with me to learn when spoofing a number is harmless and allowed. 

What Is Spoofing?

Spoofing a number is a term that is used to describe a situation where a person is hinging their called ID on purpose, to hide his or her real identity, and with an intention to do malicious things. Spoofing is usually used by scammers.

There are usually spoofing the neighbor number so that on your phone the caller appears familiar, or they are spoofing government, local authorities, or bank numbers, all in order to present them as legit persons calling for legit business. 

This type of activity usually is leading to an attempt to get sensitive information from like, like your credit card number, pin, or access code, so they can steal your money or do other fraudulent activities with the information they have gotten. 

Telemarketing spoofing is the most common type of spoofing used by telemarketing agencies. Since many of them have generic numbers that are easily recognized, they are also easily avoidable by the people they are targeting. 

To deceive the person they are calling, they would usually spoof a number from the neighborhood with the same area code, so when the person sees the number they would think someone familiar is calling. 

This technique the telemarketers are using is illegal since they are misleading the people to believe someone else is calling. 

Is Spoofing a Number Illegal?

Although the first thought is always that spoofing is illegal (mostly because it is usually used by scammers), this is not always the case. The law has defined spoofing to be illegal if the intention behind it is to steal sensitive information or commit any other fraudulent activity. 

Hiding your identity and deceiving the person being called under those circumstances would be considered to be illegal, and you may face a $10.000 fine for that. 

However, spoofing is not always illegal. For example, if you need to contact your customer, but you don’t want to use your personal number but rather the office number, then spoofing is not considered an illegal act. 

This is why you need to think before you decide to spoof a number – is the reason why you want to do that misleading or deceiving in any way. If the answer is yes, then you should think twice about your motives. 

How to Recognize If Your Number Is Being Spoofed?

Since there is no written record or a base of spoofed numbers, it is not easy to discover if your number is being spoofed. Sometimes months can go by without you noticing anything. 

Usually, the trouble starts when the frequency of calls increases, so the people start getting missed calls from your number and start calling you back and leaving you messages. This is the first red flag that something is wrong with your number.

Answering some of those calls can help you confirm that your number is being spoofed. Unfortunately, there is no solution to this problem other than changing your number, especially if it is the landline. The phone service provider can’t do anything to prevent spoofing from happening on your number. 

However, if you do wish to keep your number, it might be a good idea to record a voicemail message saying to people that your number is being spoofed, so that they don’t call you back. This will not solve your issue in the long run – you will still continue getting calls from unknown people.

If you are really, really keen to keep your number, you can go and talk to the authorities, especially if the people who have been calling you were deceived and they are attacking you. In this case, the police could try to trace back the calls to their origin.

This is usually easier done if the mobile phone is being spoofed, rather than the landline. Mobile phones keep track of calls and messages, so it is a little bit easier to track them. 

Sometimes there are some caller blocking apps that will be able to filter some of the spoofed calls, mark them as spam, and block them. These apps are not 100% efficient, but they can significantly reduce the number of calls you are getting from either spoofed or unknown numbers. 

There is always a risk that some of those apps will block some calls that should have gone through, so you should really put everything on paper and see if it is worth it. 

Also, there is no guarantee that in the future your number won’t be spoofed again. Scammers are always updating their phone base with the new ones, especially when some numbers they have been using are already recognized as a scam and blocked by many people.

Mark Lewis

Security nerd with a Data Privacy First mindset!

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