Hello Mom, I’m a Fake

It’s with some gloom that I look at these new services that use VoIP technology to fake your Caller ID. The first one I came across was FakeCaller, but others like Telespoof are arriving every day.

FakeCaller presents itself as a bit of fun (and ominously has a ‘pranks’ tab at the top of the welcome page, although no content there as yet). The notice at the bottom of the page suggests that you shouldn’t use it for harassment and stalking, or use foul language in the voice messages you send. But I ask you, what legitimate purpose could there be for a system that allows you to lie about your name and caller ID, and sent a computer speech message down the phone when they answer?

Telespoof think that their customer base is those who lie as part of their everyday work, even down to how you appear on the phone. I would have thought that simply restricting the display of your number (as you can on most cellular and landline systems these days by entering a code) would be enough. Perhaps that mean anonymous in a more insidious way, i.e. anonymous even to law enforcement and security forces.

I’m not sure how we got into this situation that VoIP telcos should be able to ‘opt out’ of the caller ID system, but overnight the whole concept of caller ID has become useless and unreliable. When I received a sales call from a company selling satellite TV warranties recently, they gave me the hard sell, suggesting that my Sky box was out of warranty and likely to fail at any minute. Small matter that I don’t have a box, but occasionally they must hit someone that does. Such a company could have no restraint in lying about their name and caller ID if it helped to close a sale.

This all just means more opportunities for mis-selling, phishing, faking, defrauding and otherwise messing with people, and I can’t see how anyone could be in favour of it.

2 thoughts on “Hello Mom, I’m a Fake

  1. Pingback: Spoof Me, Please! -- Alec Saunders .LOG

  2. Aswath

    I am not sure that VoIP is facilitating this capability. It was and is available for those that have “trunks” to the phone system. The incumbents are failing their customers because they are not identifying the source of the caller id information and whether it has been verified or not. (By the way the signaling mechanism for passing along this information is already part of the protocol.)

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