It's "Saw" all over again. Really.
October 24, 2007 10:23 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to spoof a Caller ID easily? If so, can you call a number and spoof that number's Caller ID to itself? As in, Person A gets a call from...Person A.

So a very good friend of mine's family is getting repeated calls from someone. The calls are very terroristic in nature, and we're all very scared about it--this isn't some innocent prankster, it's more serious than that.

I believe I know who is running the operation, and I believe it to be a very close "friend" of theirs. I won't go into detail as to why, but for now, let's assume that it's her. She has supposedly been receiving these calls as well, but I think she's really in control of the operation and is doing so to get attention (although this is undiagnosed, I believe her to have a mental disorder).

So, this "friend" is with a family member, and the family member receives a call with a Caller ID of the "friend". My first question is here: Could someone really be spoofing the ID? That's the explanation that the "friend" gave for this behavior.

Also, the "friend" supposedly (according to her, not what I call a reliable source) received a call* with the Caller ID of...herself. Is this even possible?

*both this call and the one to the family member went straight to voicemail. This is not the concern and I know how that is done.

Anyone have some ideas here? I really think this "friend" is doing this, and I need some information to help fit the pieces together. It's a real mystery.
posted by DMan to Technology (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Wikipedia says it's easily done.
posted by mumkin at 10:50 PM on October 24, 2007

There are plenty of services that offer ID Spoofing for a fee, and its a fairly trivial thing to get a voip system such as Asterisk to give false call ID information.

If you're really concerned, your phone provider should have a way to report the call, records of which they can then turn over to the police for investigation. Take a look in the front of your phone book.
posted by jjb at 10:53 PM on October 24, 2007

I know it is in theory possible to spoof caller ID information.

There are in fact companies that will do all the work for you, even. You just tell them your requested source and destination.
check out the Wikipedia entry on spoofing.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:55 PM on October 24, 2007

Best answer: damn.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:55 PM on October 24, 2007

posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:56 PM on October 24, 2007

yeah, it's pretty easy. here is a step by step guide to doing it. you definitely need some *nix knowledge to get it all working, but it only took me about 20 minutes before i could call anyone from anyone else's phone. for me this has led to a fair amount of hilarity, but this question highlights the potential for abuse and the fact that we shouldn't trust caller id as much as we do.
posted by christy at 1:09 AM on October 25, 2007
posted by mattholomew at 2:49 AM on October 25, 2007

If you're all really scared, contact your phone company. They can see right through the spoofing. This number will get reported to the local police where you can lodge an harassment complaint.
posted by filmgeek at 3:11 AM on October 25, 2007

Yep, definitely possible. I used to freak out my girlfriend (well, I guess it would technically be "phreak" out). I remember using a program called CidPad. It's not technically illegal to spoof caller ID, (there is a pending bill), but it is definitely illegal to harrass someone over the phone.
posted by fvox13 at 4:18 AM on October 25, 2007

Call your telephone company, as the ANI should be correct no matter what.
posted by evilelvis at 5:45 AM on October 25, 2007

It used to be very hard but actually ANI is no harder to spoof than CLID these days. All you need is a Linux PBX/VoIP application like Asterisk, a lax VoIP provider & a little know-how.
posted by scalefree at 7:56 AM on October 25, 2007

I think this was made illegal only a very short time ago, but it's still easily done.
posted by arimathea at 8:08 AM on October 25, 2007

+1 for talking to your phone company.

If you're in the US, there is likely a code you can dial after abusive phone calls to flag it for the phone company. (it was *57 last time i happened to read up on it.)

Not only is this likely to get better results, if the "friend" is hesitant to do so, that's a definite point in favor of her bs'ing.

posted by rmd1023 at 8:57 AM on October 25, 2007

Response by poster: First off, thanks so much for the help, didn't think it was that easy! Although since the person doing this has an accent as though they don't know Linux, it seems unlikely :P

We're making progress on the situation; the police are involved and we do have a suspect, we're just trying to gather more evidence. I will definitely return to the thread to post a conclusion as soon as possible.
posted by DMan at 10:45 AM on October 25, 2007

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