How can I get spammers to stop spoofing my number?
August 21, 2011 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Someone is spoofing my Caller ID and spamming people with telemarketing calls. What can I do?

About a month ago, I transferred my cell phone number to Google Voice. Everything has been going fine until, all of a sudden, I started receiving *HUNDREDS* of missed calls and voicemails of people confused why I was calling them. They are all from the same area code as my Google Voice number (except for a few which are going directly to my cell phone and are from the same area code as that phone - they may just be wrong numbers, though).

After speaking to a few of the callers, I realized that people are receiving robocalls from my phone number trying to sell them air conditioning repair. People see they have a missed call from me and then try and call me back. I'm thinking this marketing company must be spoofing my caller ID when they call these people.

I've ruled out someone getting into my Google account (the spoofed calls don't appear in my sent calls log, I use two-factor authentication, and I changed my password and the calls continue to come).

I know caller id spoofing isn't illegal, per se, but how do I stop this from happening? I'm worried people will complain to their phone companies and my number will be blacklisted or something. I'd prefer not to change my number as I've had it for a long time and like the digits. I doubt it, but does Google have a support line for this sort of thing?
posted by orangeseed to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think this has anything to do with your Google account.

Do you have a number that would be a plausible business number (123-456-1000), or one that spells out a word? If so, it's entirely likely that you're just the lucky person who happens to have that randomly picked number.

Probably the only thing you could do is change your number at this point.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 1:39 PM on August 21, 2011

chris, I don't think this is a new number, it's one he's had all along that now is just getting used for spoofing.

Orangeseed, if the assumption (yes, I know) I made above is true, you might talk to the FCC. Currently it's not illegal, but maybe they'll have some suggestions.
posted by deezil at 1:52 PM on August 21, 2011

This happened to me, although not with Google Voice. I changed my number and contacted the FCC.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:48 PM on August 21, 2011

Here's the paranoid view of it. There is someone at your carrier who tipped off these callers that you ported to GV and since GV has no real customer service to call, they love using a GV number to spoof. THey will abuse it for a week or so and move on hopefully.

Since you are using GV, can you send every call you get that is not in your contact list to a special voice mail that quickly explains the issue? "You received a call from a spoofed caller ID number. They are slimy air conditioner sales people. Do not call them back or use their service please."
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:50 PM on August 21, 2011

Google can't do anything about it aside from changing your number. Callerid is just a field the carrier can include on a call and they can change it to whatever they want, doesn't matter who owns the original number.
posted by empath at 3:22 PM on August 21, 2011

Thanks for all your tips. Google Voice won't let me change my number as I ported my cell phone over less than 90 days ago. There doesn't seem to be a solution other than not using Google Voice. There doesn't seem to be any way to contact Google to try and fix the issue. The calls continue to come and people keep threatening to call the police over me (thinking I'm the person who is making these calls). I just want to get this over with, I'm fine with losing the number or anything. Any other ideas?
posted by orangeseed at 10:01 PM on August 22, 2011

Can't you send all calls that are not in your contact list to the "This number is out of service" feature? Only those in your contact list would ring through.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:01 PM on August 22, 2011

I don't believe Google Voice has an option to do this (but I may be mistaken). Did a quick google search and didn't see a way to do it.
posted by orangeseed at 10:24 AM on August 23, 2011

Create a group with everyone in your contacts and set up a custom voice mail. Then set your main voice mail to be something along the lines of you have reached the wrong number because some d-bag spoofed my number on your caller id.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:46 PM on August 23, 2011

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