Cyber-security expert warns against “spoofing” phone calls taking your personal info

It’s 2017 and we know there’s nearly an app for everything these days from controlling the thermostat in your homes to starting your car.

All it takes is a swipe on your phone screen. An app that lets you hijack other people’s phone numbers. It’s called SpoofCard.

ABC 33/40 introduced the app to a few people who could not believe it. But one cyber-security expert said it really could cross some serious personal boundaries as well as be totally misleading. One second you may think you’re talking with a friend and the next you realize you’re on the phone with a total stranger.

Ever want to prank call a friend and have the caller ID be someone else? You can. Cyber-security expert Mathew Davis warned digital pickpockets could access your personal information. Davis told ABC 33/40, “Honestly most people I don’t think are going to use it that way right? They are going to use it for malicious stuff.”

According to the SpoofCard app site, you can change your caller ID to any number and send text messages from anonymous numbers.

Some we spoke to liked it. One woman said, “I want to do the app.” Others were not so much. Another woman said, “Wait that’s so sketchy.”

The app advertises itself as a way to better protect your privacy. It allows the user to record “spoofed calls” or disguise your voice from a man to a woman or vice versa. “We block people’s phone numbers,” said Davis. “It may be someone we don’t really want to talk to or it could be something more serious like stalking they can bypass that with this app.”

Using the app, Davis sent a text that read ‘hey bud call me’. Within five seconds, we received a message from a Houston, Texas number I’ve never seen. This could be what is called a “smishing” scam. It’s a text from a scammer trying to trick you into clicking a link that asks for your personal info. “Personally I don’t really see any good in it,” said Davis.

One woman thinks it’s worth the risk. “My phone can do a fake number any time,” said Davis.

The SpoofCard is legal in the United States.

Here’s what the FCC had to say about it.

Under the Truth in Caller ID Act, “FCC rules prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value. If no harm is intended or caused, spoofing is not illegal. Anyone who is illegally spoofing can face penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation.”


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