Is there a way someone could use my cellphone number with out using my phone?
July 28, 2012 5:11 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way someone could use my cellphone number with out using my phone?

I received a phone call on my cell phone today that is a bit of a mystery to me. The man on the other end said that he missed a call from my phone number so he hit redial and called me back. I was about to brush it off as a pocket dial, but my phone has been off for two days (dead battery and missing charger). I had just plugged it in a few hours earlier. What makes this stranger is that after the call I checked my call log and there is no record of this number ever being called from my phone. So not a pocket dial and not a wrong number so how could this happen? I am sure there is a logical explanation for this strange call but until I know my overactive imagination is going to take over and turn this into a phone call from another dimension.
posted by SheMulp AKA Plus 1 to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Caller ID spoofing is a real thing and if you scroll down in that article there are a bunch of listed reasons why someone might spoof caller ID. I first became aware of it when people were using some variation of this to fake post as people on Twitter. Also possible it's just some social engineering thing, but I wouldn't worry too much about it, just be cautious about providing personal information to strangers as per usual.
posted by jessamyn at 5:15 PM on July 28, 2012

Best answer: Yes, caller id can be spoofed.

If this is just a one time thing, I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by sparklemotion at 5:15 PM on July 28, 2012

I was beaten to it. One non-malicious explanation is if you have a number similar to some business that would legitimately use spoofing, which could have been mistyped in the spoofing software. Do you get calls intended for a business with any regularity?
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:18 PM on July 28, 2012

This happened to one of my co-workers where her number got spoofed by a robo-calling sketchy telemarketer (the fake auto warranty people if I remember right) she ended up having to get a new number because she was getting constant call-backs from annoyed/upset people thinking she called them.
posted by Captain_Science at 6:17 PM on July 28, 2012

Sometimes, these things just get messed up. For example, say you have the phone number 551-555-1212. (A real area code in New Jersey) Someone from a city in Sao Paulo, Brazil calls someone in the US. Their number in Brazil is 1555121288. Brazil's country code is 55. So if they call someone in the US, most phone companies will pass through 5515551212 as the caller ID, since their equipment only passes the first 10 digits. Oops.

Sometimes it goes the other way. For whatever reason the country code doesn't get added to the beginning of the number and you'll get a collision that way.

Spoofing is certainly possible, but it's not even the most likely explanation.
posted by wierdo at 10:03 PM on July 28, 2012

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