Saturday, May 15, 2010

Caller ID spoofing used for harassment, fraud, critics say

It may seem like a harmless practical joke, but authorities say caller ID spoofing is increasingly being used for more sinister purposes than pretending to call your mother from the White House while disguising your voice.

It's been alleged that socialite Paris Hilton used ID spoofing to hack into actress Lindsay Lohan's voice-mail account.

New York City police say an identity-theft ring used it to obtain bank-account information and steal more than $15 million from 6,000 victims.

And a U.S. congressman has cited the case of a woman who posed as a pharmacist using the technology to trick a romantic rival into taking a drug used to cause abortions.

Launched online five years ago, the original caller ID spoofing service Spoofcard works much like a calling card.

It let users phone a number, and plug in the digits they want to show up on that person's caller ID.

Users also have the option to disguise their voice and record the phone conversation.

The president of TelTech Systems, which patented the technology and has since sold it to other service providers, estimates about 200,000 Canadians have used Spoofcard.

"It's a way that if somebody is avoiding your calls, you can really get them to pick up," said Meir Cohen.

Read more: vancouversun

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