CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Remember the old days when kids would prank call their neighbors asking questions like, "Is your refrigerator running? Well you better go catch it!"
Those calls were annoying but harmless fun and those pranks were low tech compared to what's out there today.
We have told you before about phone spoofing, where someone can disguise the phone number they are really calling from. Sometimes this technology can be used for a harmless prank or to protect your identity but in the wrong hands, this feature can be scary.
Companies are coming up with new technologies to not only spoof your number but to also disguise your voice. One software product, CallerIdFaker, asks you to use the product, tape the call as it happens and then share it on their website.
Cyber Expert, Theresa Payton, is very concerned about this technology being used by abusive people and criminals to take advantage of their victims.
This technology has been used to hack high profile celebrities, tricking them into talking and telling information about themselves.
We are concerned that criminals, including physical abusers and fraudsters, will use this technology as another way to dupe their victims.
If you think this is far fetched, look at the case of Zachary Daniels who was arrested by the Hernando County Sherriff's office. According to their report, he used caller ID spoofing software, including Caller ID Faker, and made nine phone calls to harass his wife. He spoofed the calls to say he was calling as an FBI Agent or he used the persona of a Deputy of the Sherriff's office. You can read the report at:
TIPS TO STAY SAFE:
1. Watch where you post your home and mobile number.
2. Trust but verify - if a person calls you, even someone you know, pay close attention to queues that might mean they are just reading information about you online and do not really know you. Ask if you can call them back at the number displayed on your phone.
3. Talk to your kids about this feature so they cannot get tricked. Make sure you discourage using it too.
Recent criminal use of caller id spoof software:
How caller id faker rates calls that used their software:
A Youtube video describing how it works.
WORD FOR THE WEEK:
Qakbot: The word is pronounced "kwak-bot" but there's nothing ducky about it. The Qakbot first appeared on the scene in 2009 stealing your bank account information off of your computer. Security researchers have seen a new surge as cybercriminals issued a new release in April. Their main target - your bank account. Many of the software protection companies like Symantec and McAfee are trying to stay ahead so keep those antivirus software products up to date!