Just because someone miss-uses something doesn’t make it bad…

Articles like this make me nervous:

VoIP scam bilking Islanders – from CBC News

Caller ID unreliable

Caller ID on your phone will not help you identify the origin of the caller, said MacLean.

“In some cases, these fraudsters will actually use spoof legitimate-looking numbers,” he said.

“On your caller ID it may appear that there is a legitimate number on there, but it could actually be a totally different number from a totally different place.”

Once the information is stolen, charges can start appearing on your credit card overnight, and you may not find out until you get your next statement. MacLean said several Islanders have already been cheated out of thousands of dollars.

Let’s get realistic here. It isn’t that caller id is unreliable, or even that “spoofing” caller id is inherently bad… it is simply that criminals used caller id and “spoofing” to scam people into doing something they should NEVER DO:

In this latest scheme, when you answer the phone, an automated voice claims to be calling from your bank or credit card company. An offer is made to reduce bank fees or consolidate debts, or the recording might claim to be an alert over a problem with your card.

Then it asks you to punch in your bank or credit card number on the phone.

Needless to say I do not approve of scam artists using caller id as a tool to create confidence in their targets – any more than I approve when they use sweepstakes schemes or any other such misleading tactic. The solution is NOT to outlaw caller id spoofing, sweepstakes or speaking (in the case of slick talking telemarketers that swindle your grandmother out of her life savings). The solution is to outlaw the swindle, scam and fraud.

To be completely transparent, both page2call and callRecord (our communications applications from cosinity) spoof caller id. We do if for a perfectly respectable reason – individuals and small businesses purchase our services to make (and receive) phone calls on their behalf. Who would want page2call if we couldn’t set the caller id to be the phone number for their business?

We are not misleading people, we are providing valuable services – as will many other companies – which use caller id “spoofing”.

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