Caller ID Spoofing

What is Caller ID spoofing?

Your caller identification (Caller ID) display normally indicates the phone number and name associated with the line used to call you. There are, however, legitimate purposes for altering the Caller ID information provided when placing a call. For example, a call centre that places legitimate calls on behalf of multiple clients may alter the Caller ID information to accurately display their client’s name and telephone number, or a doctor calling to discuss a patient’s lab results may want the hospital’s general call back number to be displayed in the Caller ID in order to direct all future inquiries appropriately.

Unfortunately, illegitimate telemarketers may change the information that appears on the Caller ID display (a practice known as Caller ID spoofing) to misrepresent themselves and to trick Canadians into answering the call. For example:

Is Caller ID spoofing illegal?

Telemarketers who make calls to Canadians are required to accurately identify themselves and their client. Telemarketers who use technology to spoof their Caller ID information with inaccurate, false or misleading information violate this requirement. Each violation of the Unsolicited Telemarketing Rules can lead to fines up to $1,500 per violation for an individual and $15,000 per violation for a corporation.

How do I protect myself from spoofed calls?

What else is the CRTC doing about it?

New! A decision was issued to set out findings on technical solutions that Canadians could use to protect themselves from unwanted, unsolicited and illegitimate calls. The CRTC is also directing service providers to develop solutions to block nuisance calls within their network. Service providers must also report back to the CRTC, within 180 days, from the date of this decision, with details of the filtering services they offer, or intend to offer, to their subscribers. This is to ensure that all Canadians have a base level of protection against the most illegitimate nuisance calls. Learn more:

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