Call spoofing is a national problem

Ken Holmlund

Guest Columnist

Iam sure most of you have experienced calls from local numbers that turn out to be a recorded message looking to get you to buy something you had not ordered. I have done considerable research on this subject and would like to pass on what I have learned. This is such a common problem nationwide that they have a name for it — Call Spoofing.

My main concern, aside from the inconvenience these calls create, is that the possibility of using the recipients minutes when they placed the call.

I have called the PSC and Attorney General offices in Montana and the FCC in Washington, D.C. and all have given me the same answer. No minutes are used when the call is placed since only the number is used as a cover for the actual number of the caller. Apparently there are software companies that have produced apps to do just that.

What is being done to stop this intrusion? Both the FCC and FTC are looking into it and will be proposing new laws to be able to force the large cell phone companies to trace the call back to the original number. It is possible that the calls are coming from a foreign country and out of their control but this is a starting point to end the problem.

What should you do when you get a call? Hang up. What should you not do?

Call the number and, if someone answers, blame them for making the call.

These calls are not coming from local people and, for the most part, they are not even aware their numbers are being used for the calls. I have personally called a couple numbers back and gotten locals. They knew nothing about their numbers being used.

These calls come under the heading of ROBO calls which are illegal in Montana, whether they are political calls or calls to sell something. Do Not Call does not work as designed so that is not the answer. I will continue to look for more information about this topic and if something significant comes I will pass that on as well.

(Republican Ken Holmlund represents the Miles City area in the Montana House of Representatives.)