Local business victim of caller ID spoofing

Don Knight | The Herald BulletinT&J Tire owner Jeff Parker answers the phone on Wednesday. The Anderson business's number was spoofed, the illegal practice of falsifying caller ID information, by scammers last week leading to hundreds of calls to the business.

ANDERSON – Normally businesses like to have a busy telephone line with potential customers asking about available services or to make an appointment, but for one local business the ringing telephone has created problems.

T&J Tire, 100 W. Ninth St., may be the target of what is known as caller identification “spoofing."

Using a practice known as "caller ID spoofing," callers can deliberately falsify the telephone number and/or name relayed as the Caller ID information to disguise the identity of the calling party, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Under the Truth in Caller ID Act, FCC rules: Prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. The violators could receive a penalty of up to $10,000 for each violation of the rules.

Jeff Parker said the problem for the local business started last week and Comcast and the FCC are not sure how the company’s telephone number became a target of a caller ID spoofing.

It was the first time the business has been a victim to a caller ID spoofing.

“They take your telephone number and use it to make outgoing calls,” Parker said Wednesday. “They were attaching our number to their calls. We were getting calls from all over the country.”

On Thursday and Friday the business received over 800 telephone calls, Parker said.

“We were told by people calling us that it was a foreign sounding female voice trying to sell them insurance,” he said.

Parker said his business received a call from West Virginia from someone attempting to sell him insurance.

He said 95 percent of the calls were from other businesses.

“It tied up our phone,” Parker said. “We stopped answering calls from out of the local area code.

“I wondered how many customer calls I was missing and how many calls we weren’t taking from legitimate customers that had an out-of-area long-distance code,” he said.

“It’s harming our reputation,” Parker said.

Steve Napier, an investigator in the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office, said he advised Parker to file a report with the Anderson Police Department and prosecutor’s office.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.