Phone scammers use fake caller ID to commit identity theft

DENVER - The Denver Police Department Fraud Unit has received numerous complaints of persons impersonating police officers and other businesses over the phone, police said Wednesday.

The suspects call a victim and claim to be a member of law enforcement or a business. The Caller ID shows a falsified name and phone number to match.

The suspect then asks the victim for personal information, including their Social Security number or date of birth.  That information is later used to commit identity theft or sold online for that purpose.  Suspects are typically overseas but use various units and names within local police departments or businesses. 

One of the ways the suspects are gaining the confidence of the victim is by using a computer to alter their outgoing caller ID to reflect the agency or business they are portraying.

Experts say it can be done with a laptop computer and the right program.

"For fear of using the cliche, any high school kid can do it," said Steve Fox of Security Pursuit, a Denver IT firm.

"Bottom line is to not give up your information over the phone, unless you initiated the call," said Sonny Jackson, Denver Police Department spokesman.

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