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Cybersecurity

Your Phone Number Can Be Cloned Without Your Knowledge

Call spoofing allows people to fake the phone number shown by others’ Caller IDs, and the ability to “spoof” a phone number has become more prevalent alongside technological advances. In other words, the phone number shown on someone’s caller ID is not necessarily the real phone number calling.

Some Reasons People Spoof Caller ID before Calling

  • Prank calling someone a person knows
  • Wanting to protect his/her phone number and other private information from being sold
  • Calling debt collectors to avoid more calls
  • Investigating phone numbers that make said person curious
  • Scamming others so that the recipient thinks it’s someone else or a business

With increasingly more people starting to ignore calls from unfamiliar phone numbers and sending those calls to voicemail, caller ID spoofing has become more challenging. Unfortunately, spoofing a phone number that a victim may recognize, like a phone number with the same area code and prefix as his/her own, has become a popular alternative for criminals.

Of course, it is incontrovertibly too inconvenient to change one’s own phone number, but luck may have it that plentiful safety measures can be implemented to minimize identity theft risk.

Yes, spoofing phone numbers is legal. Specifically, there is nothing illegal about spoofing caller ID with a false phone number. Legitimate, non-criminal motivations are legal. What matters is the person’s intentions, which generally determine the legal basis of the actions that follow.

  • If a person hides his/her real phone number to contact a business as a means to protect someone else’s personal information, it’s legal.
  • If a person fakes someone else’s phone number to investigate a potentially risky call, it’s legal.
  • If a person hides his/her real phone number to prank a caller, it’s often legal, but the actions may be considered illegal depending on the location and circumstances. Likewise, falsifying information in an attempt to harass or abuse someone else may involve criminal and/or civil penalties .
  • If a person calls from a disposable phone number to threaten a recipient, it’s possibly illegal due to the person’s intentions and falsification of caller identity (trickery). Evidently, threatening the aforementioned recipient is illegal.

How Can I Call Someone with a Fake Phone Number?

Option 1) Register for a permanent phone number through a call-forwarding website or application.

Option 2) Get a temporary phone number from websites discussing “burner” phones.

Option 3) Use various applications to enter a false phone number that displays on a recipient’s caller ID while still using one’s own phone number to make the call.

How Do I Actually Spoof a Call with a Fake Number?

Identity theft is not 100% preventable, but using a spoofed phone number may be reassuring. There are permanent and disposable phone numbers. Permanent phone numbers never change and have a real phone number, but connect to a phone never answered (if they connect to a phone somehow at all). Disposable phone numbers are designed for short-term function.

Permanent Fake Numbers

These permanent phone number services typically offer call-blocking and restriction features, while usually being cheaper than found in temporary phone number services.

Google Voice

Google Voice is a free, secondary, web-based phone number. Interestingly, Google Voice allows a person to use his/her secondary number to forward calls to one’s primary phone number. Additionally, a person’s assigned number is customizable.

Talkatone

Similar to Google Voice, Talkatone provides free, alternate phone numbers to call and text with. Even better, the phone number can be changed whenever needed, such as finding out said phone number was leaked online. The only negative feature of Talkatone is the in-app advertisements.

Textfree

Textfree provides a free phone number with the option to choose one’s own area code. This phone number can be used indefinitely, but it’s important to make a phone call once every 30 days to keep service active.

Finally, there are also paid, premium options like TextNow and Sideline available.

Disposable Fake Numbers

Sometimes, a person needs a disposable phone number for one-time-use or a short duration. One can call a business or individual, hang up the phone once the conversation ends, and dispose of the phone number, leaving the other person without a way to reach the caller. Unfortunately, disposable phone numbers normally involve fees.

Burner

Burner is an smartphone application that automatically provides a new phone number whenever one is needed. The person’s phone number is real, and can be used to text message and call from within the application. Moreover, the caller ID for the other person’s phone displays only the Burner information instead of one’s real phone number. Also, once the application is installed, the phone number given is free for seven days. Frequency and amount of phone numbers to dial determine how quickly/and or expensive its services can become.

Flyp

Flyp can handle multiple secondary phone numbers. Sadly, the monthly fees do rapidly become costly though. Still, the ability to mirror local area codes while placing a call is perfect for spoofing phone numbers with only one account. Oh, and the excellent audio quality doesn’t hurt either.

Hushed

Hushed provides permanent and disposable phone numbers. The application’s ability to dispose of phone numbers whenever needed is helpful. What makes this application shine is that it has end-to-end encryption, which means more security and better identity protection. Surprisingly, there’s no credit card required to register for an account, and happens to be one of the more affordable paid plans.

CoverMe

CoverMe is one of the few free phone number spoofing applications, and it emphasizes privacy. Also, there are advertising features, like “military-grade encryption” and “impenetrable vaults.” Even though most of those features only work if the other party has the application, it does provide a phone number. In addition, an interesting features is password-protected call pick-up.

Online Spoofing Services

Once registered at the chosen website, a payment amount is selected before one enters in the number to call as well as the spoofed number wanted to appear on the other’s caller ID.

Spoof Card

SpoofCard is a reputable spoofing provider with unique features, like the ability to artificially disguise one’s voice and change its gender presentation.

The application also provides the option to record calls for later playback, add background noises (examples include traffic, a nightclub, police activity, etc. for extra realism.)

Spoof Card can also send calls directly to voicemail. Moreover, one can dial multiple recipients at once, add more people on one’s end of the call to listen in, and send spoofed SMS text messages. One-off purchases, bulk minute packages, monthly subscriptions, etc. do involve charges, but there is a 60-second free trial.

SpoofTel

SpoofTel is a spoof phone number provider that specializes in instant spoofing service on-demand. Interestingly, this application permits the ability to change one’s own voice pitch and add soundboard audio to the background. In addition, SMS text messaging spoofing is available. Added features, like voice-changing and recording, as well as cost-per-minute charging is important to know.

Spoof Call

Spoof Call is a little outdated in the sense that its application is only accessible via website. On a lighter note, the application has somewhat unique features, like call recording, voice-changing, background noises, group calls, and text-to-speech conversion with multiple language choices. One thing to not forget about is these calls are credit-based.