What Is Montana Phone Spoofing
Phone spoofing is when a caller deliberately alters the telephone number or name displayed on the receiver’s device. In Montana, calls displaying a false or misleading Caller ID are known as spoofed calls. Residents of Montana receive spoofed calls from both legitimate and illegitimate organizations every day. Consequently, Montana’s Attorney General’s Office has asked the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to allow companies in the country to do more in the fight against Spoofing and Robocalls.
Spoofing allows individuals to place a call from anywhere in the world without stress. The global development in internet telephony services has made caller ID spoofing very easy. Services like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allow individuals to spoof calls from the comfort of their home using different mobile applications. Phone Spoofing can be legal or illegal, depending on the use.
Montana allows certain law enforcement agencies to spoof calls when necessary. Individuals may also spoof as long as it is done with the right intention. For example, an individual that traveled abroad for work can display their home or office number when making a call. Doctors might display their office numbers when they need to make professional calls from home, and businesses can display their toll-free numbers instead of their normal office numbers.
Spoofing is illegal when it is used with the intent of stealing money or information from innocent individuals. Scammers spoof legitimate businesses and government agencies to perpetrate different crimes in Montana. Such crimes include:
Scammers often impersonate legitimate telemarketers to deceive unsuspecting individuals. Con artists call the victim and often make false statements and misrepresentations to lure them into paying for a bogus service. Telemarketing fraud usually involves the victim’s compliance with an agreement based on the caller's false claims.
To steal, defraud, or obtain money or information by any illegal means from Montana residents is criminal. Depending on the circumstances, telemarketing crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony in Montana. Telemarketing in Montana is regulated by the Montana Telemarketing Registration and Fraud Prevention Act. Residents who have been targeted by telemarketing fraud can report to the county attorney or submit a complaint with the FCC.
Swatting is done as a prank, revenge, or a means to distract law enforcement. Swatting occurs when an individual spoofs their caller ID and reports a false incident to the authorities to elicit a response from the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. In Montana, it is a crime to call any law enforcement agency to report a false incident. Swatting is not common in Montana. However, there are cases when it has led to shootings in the state. Residents threatened with swatting by either a friend or a stranger should immediately report to their County Attorney.
Stalking often involves the use of threats, tricks, or false reports to cause fear. It is a serious offense in Montana. However, it is under-reported and overlooked most of the time. A few years ago, a stalker had to be physically close to the victim to see what they were doing, but that is no longer the case. Phone spoofing has made it possible for individuals to stalk others without leaving their homes. The same person can call you with four or five different numbers just to cause you trouble.
Victims may contact the State Police. They can also contact a reverse phone lookup service provider to verify the call’s origin.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scam is one of the numerous phone scams perpetrated through phone spoofing. Scammers spoof IRS official phone numbers to contact taxpayers, asking them to pay up what they owe. They often threaten the target with immediate arrest. People who take such calls believe that they are from legitimate sources, and most times, they fail to realize that the callers have fraudulent intents until they actually fall for it. Residents of Montana should know that the IRS will never threaten them with arrest. Scammers are usually impatient, so when a caller from the IRS continues to persuade you to pay tax, continue to say no.
How Do You Know If Your Number Is Being Spoofed?
A phone number has been spoofed when the owner of the number begins to receive multiple calls or SMS that they did not initiate. When scammers spoof numbers, they often use them to commit some mischievous acts. You may get a text from someone you do not know telling you to stop bothering them. Sometimes, a caller might even ask who you are and what you do for a living. Residents can verify such calls using a reverse phone number tool. Report your experience to the FCC to avoid being associated with crimes you know nothing about.
Why is Phone Spoofing Illegal?
Phone Spoofing is illegal when it is done with the intent of committing crimes in the state. Illegal spoofing often involves identity theft. Scammers spoof to impersonate who they are not to get undue advantage over their victims. Such practices are prohibited in Montana. However, residents can spoof if the situation necessitates it, just like the case of doctors and law enforcement. It is unlawful to spoof to harass or play pranks on any individual or organization in the state.
Taking a call only to discover that it is not from a legitimate source can be very annoying. Residents are aware that scammers can spoof any number of their choice to place a call, but it is not enough to know what these con artists are capable of. It is also essential to know how to identify and protect yourself from illegally spoofed calls. Here are some tips to follow:
- Do not take calls from unknown numbers. The caller will likely drop a message if the information is important.
- Never give out personal information to anyone on the telephone. If the caller claims to represent your financial institution, tell them you will visit your bank for clarity.
- Download and install a call blocking mobile application such as Truecaller or Nomorobo to identify spoofed calls.
- Contact your county's attorney general when you are confused about a scam call.
- Sign up for Montana scam alert. This keeps you informed of the latest trends in phone Spoofing.
- Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Contact the FCC by filing a complaint on their website.
Does Montana Have Anti-Spoofing Laws?
No, there is currently no law prohibiting spoofing in Montana, except when spoofing is used to perpetrate telemarketing fraud. Spoofing to sell a product or services legitimately is considered a violation of the Montana Telemarketing Registration and Fraud Prevention Act. The Act makes it unlawful for anyone to use a business name that is not their own to sell a product, except permission is granted by the owner of the name.
In addition to this, the state also adopts the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009. Violators of this Act are liable to fines between $10,000 to $1,000,000. The FCC has also mandated all voice service providers to work with caller ID authentication using the STIR/SHAKEN protocols.
What are Common Phone Scams involving Caller ID Spoofing in Montana?
Spoofing is used to perpetrate different crimes in Montana. Some of the common phone spoofing scams that occur in Montana State are listed below:
- Law enforcement impersonation scams
- Telemarketing scams
- Financial institutions scams
- Tech support scams