Parents: Beware of "Spoofing"
Apparently this is happening more frequently and the possible consequences are nothing short of alarming. I had a crash course in spoofing because this is happening to my daughter and her friend. The caller ID shows the girls' numbers, and the caller is identifying herself as the girl whose number she assumed (for example, Jane Doe's number and name pop up when the phone rings, but Jane Doe is not the one making the call and it is not coming from her number).
If you or your child is the victim of spoofing, you need to do two things. First, you need to report it to the local police. They cannot really do anything specific other than take a report, but at least it will be documented in case something should happen and your child is accused of doing something s/he did not do.
Next, you need to call your cell phone carrier. They have ways to find out who is doing the spoofing, via a subpoena of the phone records. Once the number is found from where the calls originated I am not sure how the carrier proceeds, but I will write a follow up blog once I know.
The most important lesson to learn from this new scary identity assumption tactic is to speak with your children about it. Let them know that this is a crime, and that if it happens to them they need to let you know immediately. Many kids may think this is just something fun, but they need to know there can be consequences and that this can be considered criminal.
I will be speaking with the Carlsbad Unified School District next week to try and implement a program that gets this information out to all middle school and high school aged children. I will also be speaking with local officials so that we can educate the general public about this growing problem.