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Caller ID was once a way to protect ourselves from unknown calls or people we just don’t want to talk to.
But now, that protection is being stripped away by what is known as caller ID spoofing. The most recent case involved Hawaiian Electric Company.
“These scammers are using this technology to emulate our caller ID and it’s leading some of our customers to believe that it might actually be a legitimate call about their electric account,” HECO spokesperson Darren Pai said.
KHON2 asked cyber crimes expert Chris Duque how they’re getting away with this.
“It’s completely legal,” Duque said. “Law enforcement was using it.”
But according to the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, it becomes illegal when it’s used to defraud or cause harm.
“The public needs to be made aware and constantly reminded of the fraudulent acts that can be perpetrated with the current technology,” Duque said.
The technology is right at the tip of our fingers.
KHON2 Googled “caller ID spoofing” and the first thing that popped up was “SpoofCard,” which not only allows you to disguise your number, but also your voice and background noises.
KHON2 wanted to know how hard is it to disguise a caller ID. We gave it a try and managed to disguise a personal cell phone as the KHON2 newsroom. It was as simple as that.
The experts say if in doubt, hang up.
Whether it’s a utility company or your bank, get the listed number provided in your phone book and call them back.