Cell phone. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

Residents Annoyed by Masked Phone Numbers

Subscribe to our free, online newsletter for all your local news.

An ongoing conversation on the Westford Friends Facebook page is warning residents about incoming marketing calls and how they appear on caller I.D.

It seems that the calls are spoofed, meaning they register as having someone else’s name and phone number. In this case the calls appear to be coming from Westford residents with their accurate phone numbers displayed.

There are several ways this can be accomplished, as outlined in this article.

But is spoofing illegal? Here’s what the Federal Communications Commission says:

“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 wrongly obtain anything of value.  If no harm is intended or caused, spoofing is not illegal.  Anyone who is illegally spoofing can face penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation.  In some cases, spoofing can be permitted by courts for people who have legitimate reasons to hide their information, such as law enforcement agencies working on cases, victims of domestic abuse or doctors who wish to discuss private medical matters.” (Source: fcc.gov).