Connecticut Phone Number Lookup

What is Phone Spoofing?

A phone call is said to be spoofed when the caller deliberately falsifies the caller ID information displayed on the phone of the person who receives the call. Due to the increased availability of smartphones and services like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) that allow people to configure phone numbers, it has become relatively easy to spoof phone numbers. Unfortunately, this has also made caller ID spoofing popular amongst phone scammers, who use it to perform various criminal activities. Some of these activities include:

  • Using caller ID spoofing to harass unsuspecting people through prank calls. In most cases, these prank calls are not done with any malicious intent.
  • Using caller ID spoofing to harass, bully and intimidate unsuspecting people by impersonating law enforcement officers and government agents. This is usually done to obtain money or personal information fraudulently.
  • Using caller ID spoofing to fraudulently obtain money or sensitive information from unsuspecting people by impersonating financial institutions and well-known organizations.
  • Using caller ID spoofing to solicit funds from unsuspecting people through illegal telemarketing. This is usually done through a neighbor spoofing technique that disguises the caller’s number and makes it look like the call was made from a nearby location. When a call is made with a number that looks familiar, the person being called is typically more inclined to pick up.

In Connecticut, the Department of Consumer Protection is responsible for investigating all matters related to scams and frauds that are carried out on residents of the state. The state’s Attorney General is also responsible for enforcing the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, which is a federal law that penalizes the criminal use of caller ID spoofing.

Why Is Phone Spoofing Illegal?

Generally, caller ID spoofing is used for several legal reasons. One of the most common reasons is related to privacy. An example of this is when medical and healthcare practitioners spoof their numbers so that if they have to contact patients when they are not at work, the patient does not see the number that is being used to make the call. Instead, the caller ID information that is displayed on the patient’s phone is that of the medical or healthcare practitioner’s place of work.

However, caller ID spoofing is illegal in the United States under certain circumstances. According to the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, these circumstances are:

  • If it is done with the intention of causing harm to a person
  • If it is done with the intention of defrauding a person
  • If it is done with the intention of wrongfully obtaining anything of value from a person

Under this law, anybody that is found guilty of committing any of these crimes can be punished with a fine of up to $10,000 for each violation, as long as the person is charged not later than two years after the crime was committed. However, this law makes exceptions for situations where an authorized law enforcement agency has to perform any of these acts in the course of their duties and for when there is a court order that specifically authorizes the use of caller ID spoofing.

How Do You Know If Your Number Is Being Spoofed?

Anybody can have their phone number spoofed by a con artist and used to carry out phone scams. Unfortunately, there is no definitive way of knowing when this happens. However, if you suddenly start getting contacted by many unknown people, all of whom say that you had previously contacted them, then there is a chance that your phone number has been spoofed.

Having your phone number spoofed can be a frustrating experience. If this happens, you can take some steps to minimize the fall-out:

  • Record a voicemail that plays when you receive phone calls, telling callers that you have been the victim of a spoofed phone number. This message should warn them that any contact they may have had from your phone number is fraudulent and ask them to block your number and no longer bother you.
  • Block all calls from numbers that are not saved in your phone book or contact list. You can do this with a software app or by contacting your network provider. Some phones also have built-in block features.
  • Report the suspected phone spoofing to the Federal Communications Commission.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Illegal Spoofed Calls?

It is impossible to know right away whether an incoming phone call is from a spoofed phone number. To avoid becoming a victim of a caller ID spoofing scam, you can follow these tips:

  • Do not answer calls from numbers that are not stored in your phone book.
  • Reduce the number of unwanted calls you receive by adding your number to the National Do Not Call Registry. You can also report unwanted calls via this website.
  • Do not trust the caller ID information that is displayed on your phone.
  • Do not give out sensitive and identifying information to callers that you do not trust. Hang up immediately if a caller insists that you do so.
  • Always verify calls that look like they originated from law enforcement or government agencies. These agencies always have their contact details available on their websites. Call the agency and find out if someone from that office contacted you
  • Download phone number lookup and reverse phone number lookup apps. Use these apps to search for suspicious numbers that call you. Typically, if the search does not return any result, then the phone number is spoofed.
  • Block all calls from spoofed numbers that have been used to contact you

Does Connecticut Have Anti-Spoofing Laws?

According to Section 53a-130 of the Connecticut General Statutes, impersonating another person using an electronic device is a criminal offense when done with the intent to defraud, injure or deceive, and if the impersonation results in any of the following:

  • Personal injury or financial loss to a person
  • The initiation of judicial proceedings against a person

Under this law, which took effect on October 1, 2011, this crime is a Class A misdemeanor. In Connecticut, a class A misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,000.

Also, the state of Connecticut is subject to the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009. This law punishes violators with a fine of up to $10,000 per violation. Note that this is a federal anti-spoofing law.

What Are Common Phone Scams Involving Caller ID Spoofing in Connecticut?

In the state of Connecticut, the most commonly reported phone scams that utilize caller ID spoofing are:

  • Online dating scams
  • Foreign lottery scams
  • Government impersonation scams
  • Financial institution impersonation scamsIf you are affected by any of these, you can report to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.