People in Jefferson City, Missouri are receiving fraudulent telephone calls soliciting their personal and banking information. Even worse, their caller ID reflects that the call is coming from a bank.

A new term (vishing) is being used to describe this kind of fraudulent activity. Scams over the telephone are nothing new, but many experts believe that VoIP technology is making the problem worse.

Michelle Brooks, of the News Tribune is reporting:

More than 1,000 people in the Jefferson City area received a prerecorded phone message Wednesday that sought customer information and claimed to be from “Central Trust Bank”- a name Central Bank does not go by – and, in fact, showed Central Bank’s customer service line on caller ID systems.

News Tribune story, here.

Besides stealing from people, a Washington Post story shows how this technology can be used by stalkers and criminals, who are potentially violent (stalkers).

This technology is a favorite of collection and telemarketing types to get people to answer their telephones. Some of the people marketing this technology, claim their intent is to protect privacy.

Of course, some of us believe, that this technology is violating a lot of people’s privacy.

One of the most scary examples of this is They sell a calling card that not only spoofs the number being called from, but gives their customers the ability to change their voice. The calls are also recorded (accessible by calling a 800 number).

Besides this company, there are many others, that are hawking Caller-ID spoofing. Collection agencies and telemarketing types use the technology to trick people into answering their telephones.

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) seems to be taking a look at this problem, a list of their press releases on this matter can be viewed, here.

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) also has a lot of information about the problem on their site, here.

If you are mad about someone doing this to you, the FCC has a complaint form, here.

Isn’t it a shame that we constantly see so-called legitimate businesses profiting from technology that victimizes the general population?

Congress needs to work with the FCC and the FTC to pass a law against this abuse!

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