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Co-operators hit by ‘ID spoofing’

Residents of Southern Ontario were recently warned that strange phone calls they were receiving might look like they were from The Co-operators insurance cooperative. They weren’t.

The calls were from a telemarketer trying to sell duct cleaning. In just two days in January, the Guelph-based insurance company received 270 complaints from residents who had been bombarded with phone calls.

The practice of using an outside phone number is known as caller ID spoofing. That’s what happens when a number displayed on the recipient’s end is not from the stated source. To appear legitimate, spoofers place calls from one phone line but change the number or name that appears on the recipient’s phone. While ID spoofing did not involve a breach of private information – only the phone number was misrepresented – the event was still disturbing to both The Co-operators and recipients of the calls. ◊