Hacker intercepting phone call

Can outgoing phone calls be spoofed?

Can you ring the verified phone number of your bank and get intercepted and redirected by a scammer?

Recently, ABC published an article about someone being scammed through the spoofing of her bank’s phone number. As I mentioned about phone number spoofing before, this should not be surprising for our readers.

But there is a surprisingly little detail in that ABC article:

Both incoming and outgoing numbers can be spoofed

We all know that incoming phone numbers can be spoofed. That is, the phone number of an incoming call can be faked to display anything the hacker wants.

But what are outgoing phone numbers? Did the ABC article mean that when you call a phone number, your call can be intercepted and redirected to another?

If this is true, then this is a serious problem!

Many of the cybersecurity protocols to protect you from scams rely on the fact that outgoing phone calls cannot be spoofed. For example, if your ‘bank’ calls you and you are not sure whether it is legitimate (because incoming phone calls can be spoofed), you can request to hang up and call the bank’s verified phone number instead. That way, you can be sure that you are talking to your bank. But if outgoing phone calls can be spoofed, you cannot rely on this countermeasure to protect you from fraud and scams. That’s because you can still be talking to the scammer even though you called your bank via a phone number that you have verified to belong to your bank.

So, did the ABC make an error in their article? Or do they simply have sloppy semantics? Should you worry about your outgoing phone calls being spoofed? If so, what can you do to protect yourself?

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