Skip to content


Harry Cassin
Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding
Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman
Senior Editor

Bill Steinman
Senior Editor

Richard L. Cassin
Editor at Large

Elizabeth K. Spahn
Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington
Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro
Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox
Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn
Contributing Editor

Bill Waite
Contributing Editor

Shruti J. Shah
Contributing Editor

Russell A. Stamets
Contributing Editor

Richard Bistrong
Contributing Editor

Eric Carlson
Contributing Editor

Is caller ID spoofing driving you nuts?

The FCC says “spoofing” is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity.

Spoofing is usually used to trick someone into taking a sales call. Sometimes its used to phish for personal information.

U.S. law and FCC rules prohibit most spoofing.

Caller ID is a great feature. You can see who’s calling and decide whether or not to answer the call.

But the spoofers have figured out how manipulate caller ID and masquerade as others. Sometimes they try to look like banks, or insurance companies, or the government. Most common these days is trying to look like your neighbors or relatives, or even your own phone number.

Under the Truth in Caller ID Act, FCC rules prohibit anyone from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value. 

If no harm is intended or caused, spoofing is not illegal. It’s just annoying.

Anyone who is illegally spoofing can face penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation. 

According to the FCC, courts sometime permit spoofing for people who have legitimate reasons to hide their information — law enforcement agencies working on cases, victims of domestic abuse, or doctors who want to talk about private medical matters.

So far, there’s no easy way to stop spoofers from calling your number.

But anyone who receives a spoof call can complain to the FCC here. It’s easy to do.

Those complaints might help the feds catch the spoofers and shut them down.

In August last year, the FCC hit a North Carolina telemarker with a proposed $82 million fine for making more than 21 million illegally spoofed robocalls.

The spoofer was Philip Roesel and his companies, Best Insurance Contracts and Wilmington Insurance Quotes.

The FCC said Roesel was allegedly using the phony caller ID information for calls to sell health insurance. He “especially targeted vulnerable consumers, including the elderly, the infirm, and low-income families,” the FCC said.

In June last year, the FCC proposed a $120 million fine against a Florida man who was spoofing caller IDs to sell timeshares.

Adrian Abramovich of Miami “apparently made almost 100 million spoofed robocalls” over a three-month period, the FCC said.

Abramovich allegedly used “neighbor spoofing” — fake caller IDs that match the area code and first three digits of the recipient’s phone number.

The FCC said it acted against Abramovich after receiving lots of complaints from people who received multiple calls daily.

The FCC and FTC are hosting an Expo Monday (April 23) in DC featuring technologies to block illegal robocalls. There’s more information here.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

Share this post



  1. A couple months ago we signed up with this service — at no cost to us through Verizon, our telecom provider — which has been terrific in stopping a good percentage of these calls. It does not stop the first ring, but hangs up after one ring after detecting a robocaller.

    I have zero relationship with this company other than as a gratified customer. Thanks.

  2. I am getting a steady stream of calls — sometimes 3-4 times daily, from a "service" that either has something to do with health insurance, credit card limit increases, or replacement for my expiring auto repair warranty (I don't have a car).

    Mostly I don't answer these calls because they invariably come from numbers that begin with the same prefix as my own. Blocking the call or asking to be put on the Do Not Call list is meaningless because every time the number changes (except for the prefix).

    The link to the FCC complaint form in this article does not work correctly, although I will track it down. Any other ideas?

Comments are closed for this article!