Call ID spoofing: Fewer manipulated phone numbers from December

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On December 1st of this year, additional new legal regulations will come into force that are intended to provide better protection against so-called call ID spoofing, i.e. the manipulation and false display of the phone number on the person called.

Not only since the numerous alleged Interpol calls in which German phone numbers were shown on the displays that were not assigned when you called back, the display of fake phone numbers has been a popular means to disguise the true origin of the call for criminal purposes.

From December 1st, however, telecommunications providers must technically ensure that

  1. Calls to emergency numbers 110 and 112, expensive numbers (0) 900, (0)137 and numbers for information and speed dialing services are displayed incorrectly, as well as
  2. When calling from foreign networks, no German phone numbers are displayed as sender information. In such cases, the number display must be suppressed. Mobile phone numbers in international roaming are excluded from this.

Scam calls often from abroad

According to the Federal Network Agency, the vast majority of calls with manipulated numbers originate in foreign networks or are routed to Germany via foreign networks. In the future, consumers should be able to rely on the fact that when a German telephone number is displayed, the call is actually being made by an authorized number owner from Germany and that the number is not just being faked. Dubious callers from abroad should then no longer be able to gain the trust of the person being called by displaying a German number and exploit the appearance of a harmless call associated with displaying a German number.

Suppressed phone numbers are not always dubious

However, this also means that in more cases than before, the phone number will be suppressed and no phone number will appear on the display of the person called. This is a consequence of the anonymization obligation mentioned above. Even if the Federal Network Agency points out that consumers “can decide not to accept calls from a withheld number”, calls with a withheld number are not dubious per se, but the caller may have deliberately decided against having his number transmitted.

Fewer investigations without call numbers

However, the Federal Network Agency has no general authority to determine the origin of calls to clear up. In the case of certain complaints about telephone number misuse, investigations may no longer be possible in the future, since a displayed telephone number must be available for this. This mainly affects cases of harassing call attempts and ping calls. Since in the future no phone number will be displayed for such calls, no complaints can be submitted. In other abuse scenarios, in which a call is made or a recorded announcement is played, i.e. the call is answered, it can still be determined without the phone number being displayed, provided that a complaint is filed.