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Caller ID Spoofing: How to Prevent Fraudulent Calls

Every company needs to protect its assets, including information about its employees as well as its customers. When most business owners think about ramping up security, they imagine implementing a robust technology infrastructure that protects their digital equipment. While protecting your assets against this type of cybercrime is crucial, you also need to pay close attention to illegal caller ID spoofing.

Some types of ID spoofing help companies build better connections with customers. However, fraudulent parties can also employ the same technology to victimize your customers and employees. In fact, 62% of consumers reportedly received a spoofed call in 2020 according to our newest State of the Call research. At the same time, not many owners are aware that phone spoofing is even a problem, let alone that they can do something to stop it from happening. Only 38% of the businesses surveyed for the State of the Call were aware they had been spoofed.

At Hiya, we’ve developed a voice performance solution that helps companies combat caller ID spoofing, so we’ve familiar with the steps companies have to take to mitigate the impact of this practice. In this third article in our spoofing series, we’ll go over the definition of caller ID spoofing and explain how it can be used to target your customers. We’ll also go over the impact of illegal caller ID spoofing and give you tips on preventing this from happening to your business. Make sure to also read about what a spoofing attack is and  how to stop phone spoofing.

 

What is Caller ID Spoofing?

Simply put, caller ID spoofing is the process of masking a caller’s real number to hide its real origin. Instead of seeing the real caller’s information, the receiver sees a completely different number that usually seems more trustworthy than the real source. 

Spoofing in itself is not a bad technique. Many reliable providers actually use spoofed numbers for a variety of legitimate reasons. For this purpose, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allows the use of spoofed numbers in some instances.

However, fraudulent parties can also use caller ID spoofing to target your customers and employees. These deceitful parties often impersonate your team members to extract personal information from the receiver, which can then be used for personal gain.

 

Legal vs. Illegal Call Spoofing

Some spoofing is legal, while other spoofing is not.There are many differences between legal and illegal spoofing, with the most important one being that legal spoofers have permission to use the spoofed number. For example, a company that makes calls on behalf of its client, businesses that offer toll-free lines, and professionals that want to display their work numbers may all benefit from legal spoofing.

Illegal spoofers, on the other hand, don’t have the authorization to use the number that appears on the screen. Some examples of why illegal parties may spoof their numbers include hiding the real source of the call, pretending that a caller is located close by, and impersonating businesses that are familiar to the victim in order to increase the efficiency of the scam. Illegal spoofers use these tactics to engage in illicit activities and extract information for malicious purposes.

 

Why Does Illegal ID Spoofing Hurt Your Business?

Every year, cybercriminals generate millions of dollars through fraudulent activity and a large portion comes from illegal caller ID spoofing. If scammers start using your number to conduct their illicit activities, it delivers a huge blow to the reputation of your company. 

Not only will your current customers stop trusting you, but this can also reduce the number of legitimate sales calls you receive.

It’s relatively easy for someone to spoof your company numbers if you don’t take the right precautions. The worst part is that if fraudsters start using your number to contact prospects, clients, and employees, there’s a strong chance you won’t find out until it’s too late.

In addition to the above, some of the reasons why illegal ID spoofing hurts your business include:

Customer Impact

If criminals know your business number and manage to get a list of your customer contacts, they have everything they need to commit fraud. When a fraudster spoofs your number and contacts your customers, this criminal can cause anything from a minor inconvenience to a life-changing crime like identity theft.

It’s true that most consumers are savvy enough to avoid falling for this trap. But, all it takes is one instance of fraud to give your company a bad reputation. And, like your business, chances are that your clients wouldn’t even realize they are being scammed until it’s too late.

Wasted Resources

Only six percent of people answer the phone when getting a call from an unknown number. And, the more fraud calls consumers receive, the smaller the chances of you connecting with your customers when you really need to. 

If people are used to receiving requests from fraudulent parties, they will likely ignore all calls from phone numbers they don’t know or trust. The results can be detrimental for your sales team, especially if you still rely on cold calling and similar techniques.

To avoid this, you should find ways to include more details on the caller ID whenever you contact customers and employees. For example, you can display the name of your company, your logo or the reason for the call on an incoming caller ID. The Branded Call feature of Hiya Connect makes this simple for you. 

Mitigating Negative Experiences

Even if a fraud call didn’t actually come from your company, consumers will still hold you accountable if they see your number on their phone screens. And, given the fact that close to half of all calls in the US are scams, there’s a strong chance there’s more than one disgruntled customer that wants answers from your company. 

Handling calls, emails, messages, and social posts from disgruntled customers and employees can become a full-time job, especially if fraudsters have been using your number for a while. Rather than simply ignoring it, companies need to address these requests to avoid building a negative reputation unfairly.

Financial Fraud

The biggest issue that spoofed called IDs can cause is financial fraud of varying levels. Whether they are targeting customers or employees, fraudsters can impersonate your team members and request that financial transactions be made. These include money transfers, payments, and other transactions that immediately hinder a company’s finances.

Additionally, fraudsters can also use birthdates, social security numbers, and other details to commit identity theft. Even if scammers don’t manage to extract funds, they can still collect personal information from employees, customers, prospects, and vendors to use for financial fraud later on.

 

Should You Attempt to Trace Fraudsters?

There are some cases where telephone companies can trace the origin of the call to find out who spoofed them. But getting this information takes a lot of time and it rarely produces significant results. Moreover, attempting to find out who is using your number using your own resources can be even more time-consuming, not to mention expensive. 

Rather than focusing your energy on these practices, your best bet is to safeguard your numbers and make sure that affected parties receive the appropriate help. The Secure Call feature of Hiya Connect offers one of the only ways to actively manage and monitor your outbound calling numbers to know if they’ve been spoofed, blocked or marked as spam.

 

Related: Watch Hiya’s vice president, Chris Sorensen talk about business spoofing and what you can do about it in this recent webinar recording. 

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How to Block and Prevent Illegal Spoofers

Lawmakers, consumers, and leading voice performance providers like Hiya have advocated for the implementation of tools that help reduce the impact of illegally spoofed calls. The STIR/SHAKEN standard was recently introduced in the US and is designed to help carriers identify incoming calls.

In simple terms, the STIR/SHAKEN standard categorizes incoming calls depending on their attestation level. But, even though this feature can help consumers, it does little to protect the companies whose numbers are being spoofed.

Rather than waiting for changes in the industry, you can take control of your numbers and protect your assets through your own means. At Hiya, we provide a set of solutions that help protect your brand from spoofers by:

Safeguarding Your Company from Unwanted Callers

You hate fraudulent calls as much as your customers do. The problem with business caller ID spoofing is you aren’t just spoofed towards your customers, but are victims of high volumes of spoofed calls yourselves. 

As a business, you can receive a large number of robocalls and spoofed calls mixed with your customers who are calling back. These calls become distracting against actually helping your customers.

Hiya protects your numbers from being spoofed towards your customers, but also helps you block unwanted calls. See how to block robocalls with Hiya and keep your phone lines open for your valued customers.  

Protecting Your Company Phone Numbers

Our Secure Call feature can help you protect all of your company numbers by preventing criminals from mimicking your phone numbers. All you have to do is integrate this feature into your phone system or customer experience interface and choose how you want your spoofed calls to be handled.

There are options you can choose to decide how you want to handle spoofed calls. You can block the spoofed call completely, so employees and customers don’t ever receive a notification or alert. You can also choose to present a fraud warning to the recipient, which should be enough to discourage anyone from picking up the phone.

Implementing Branded Caller ID

With 94% of people ignoring unidentified calls that only have a phone number in the caller ID, modern companies can’t rely on unbranded calls to conduct business and still expect good business results. If your caller ID identifies you as a legit company, that statistic turns around completely as 83% of people are more likely to pick up the phone then.

Hiya Connect allows you to brand your caller ID by displaying the name of the company, logo, and a small customized message on the receiver’s phone. The message is designed to inform customers what the call is about, which encourages them to answer the call.

Monitoring the Hiya Network for Calls Spoofed Using Your Number

The Hiya network includes more than 140 different devices. We owe the size of our network to strategic partnerships with AT&T, Samsung, Cricket Wireless, and other national as well as regional providers. Our call intelligence platform’s reporting feature allows you to see how many times your number has been spoofed on our network, so you can make sure that the number of deceitful contacts is at its lowest.

Get more information on Caller ID spoofing from the FCC.

Looking for even more ways to prevent caller ID spoofing? Read our How to Stop Spoofing eBook for three actionable steps to take to prevent spoofing.

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Author Laleh Hassibi

Hiya's Director of Content Marketing and Growth

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