On June 30, 2021, the James Bond-inspired STIR/SHAKEN anti-spoofing protocol took into effect. Established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), this protocol aims to verify the source of calls and help protect you from scammers who spoof their number to appear as local callers. In this article, we will discuss what spoofing scams are and why they’re dangerous, what phone carriers are doing to implement FCC’s new anti-spoofing protocol, how this will affect the users, and how you can avoid spoofing scams. Keep reading to learn how phone carriers made these changes to prevent spoofing scams and ensure your safety!
What Spoofing Scams Are and Why They’re Dangerous
Spoofing scams involve disguising as a trusted source to collect sensitive information and steal your identity. Different types of spoofing scams involve caller ID spoofing, email spoofing, website spoofing, and IP spoofing. For instance, scammers will use false information to change the caller ID. To make the call appear local, they will copy your area code. For IP spoofing, scammers will hide their actual IP address or imitate trusted ones, redirecting you to sites with malicious content.
These spoofing scams pose a danger to your device as links and attachments may contain malware. Also, by playing with your emotions and utilizing technology, scammers will gather your personal and financial information and commit identity theft. Then, you may end up with an empty bank account and a damaged reputation.
Carriers’ Steps To Implement FCC’s New Anti-Spoofing Protocol
In response to FCC’s new anti-spoofing protocol, various phone carriers made these changes to prevent spoofing scams. AT&T, for instance, authenticates hundreds of millions of calls every day. To be more accurate in identifying and blocking over a billion robocalls per month, the carrier utilizes data from STIR/SHAKEN. AT&T not only verifies calls across its wireless network but also does so with calls from other major wireless providers, like Verizon and T-Mobile.
Verizon also declared that it fully complies with FCC’s new anti-spoofing standards, covering 80% of the wireless industry in the United States. T-Mobile announced that its authentication network covers 98% of the wireless customers in the country. It includes those who use other carriers, such as Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast. Meanwhile, smaller phone carriers have until June 30, 2023, to file for STIR/SHAKEN compliance certification.
If you’re wondering how it affects you as a user, you may see whether the number that’s trying to contact you is legitimate and they’re the people who they claim to be. However, the STIR/SHAKEN protocol does not totally solve the issue of scammers. It does not apply to international calls. Although not foolproof, the system gives you the guarantee that local numbers calling you are not from scam artists.
How To Avoid Spoofing Scams
While major phone carriers and FCC are taking the necessary steps to help prevent spoofed scams, you can also take your part by following these steps:
- Never share sensitive information, especially your Social Security numbers, address, birth date, and passwords.
- Don’t answer calls coming from unknown numbers. If you happen to answer them, hang up quickly.
- Avoid answering questions, especially those that only have Yes or No options.
- Do not open suspicious attachments or links to avoid malware that can infect your device.
- Beware of callers forcing you to send payments right away.
- Change your passwords frequently. Make sure they’re unique and hard to guess.
- Install reliable antivirus programs to help protect your device from spoofing.
- Ask phone carriers regarding apps for your mobile devices or call blocking tools for your landlines.
- Stay skeptical, especially if you see errors in spelling, grammar, and content structure.
- If someone calls and urges you to share private information, hang up the call and contact the number found on the providers’ actual website to verify. Enter the URL manually to ensure you won’t be redirected to a fake site.
- If you think you’ve been a victim of spoofing scams, send a report to the FCC or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Spot Spoofing Scams With Social Catfish
With the FCC’s new STIR/SHAKEN anti-spoofing protocol, the number of robocalls and spoofing scams is expected to decline. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile now authenticate millions of calls every day across different networks, following the FCC’s newly implemented protocol. While phone carriers made these changes to prevent spoofing scams, you can also guard yourself against scam artists by following the tips we have highlighted above.
If someone’s trying to trick you into any kind of spoofing scam, utilize the reverse search of Social Catfish to learn who they really are!