How to protect your cell number from being 'spoofed'

How to protect your cell number from being 'spoofed'


by BILL MCGINTY / NBC Charlotte Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @billwcnc

Posted on August 1, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 1 at 8:35 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It’s a frustrating problem for Attorney Alex Panosh who has had the same cell phone number for years. 

But in recent months, she learned someone had “spoofed” her cell phone number, meaning someone stole it and now makes calls to people as a telemarketer, all from Panosh’s cell number.

Panosh went to her cell carrier, Verizon wireless, and explained the problem, but she was told all they could do was change her phone number. 

NBC Charlotte reached out to Verizon who told us there is nothing they can do because this isn’t a problem caused by the network or the phone.

Verizon also says the best way to prevent spoofing, is to closely guard your cell phone number and that means don’t fill out any contest forms and write down your cell. 

Verizon also recommends not giving it out on websites when they ask for a cell number.
Spoofing is a crime as it violates the 2010 Truth In Caller ID Act. You can try to track down the source yourself, but it’s an intense task and usually doesn’t lead to enough information to get police involved.

The FCC says if you have caller ID and receive a call from a telemarketer without the required caller ID information, if you suspect that Caller ID information has been falsified, or you think the rules for protecting the privacy of your telephone number have been violated, you can file a complaint with the FCC.

There is no charge for filing a complaint. You can file your complaint using an online complaint form.

You can also file your complaint with the FCC’s Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
More information on stopping and reporting “spoofing” is available at