When Yvonne Stefancic answered her phone at 3:52 p.m. Monday, the woman at the other end wanted to know why Ms.  Stefancic had called. Ms. Stefancic’s number was on the caller-ID display of the woman’s phone.

Ms. Stefancic was confounded. No, Ms. Stefancic replied, she had not called even though the number was clearly hers.

Then came another call. And another. One man told Ms. Stefancic he had been receiving calls from her line for about a month, and was now phoning to tell her to buzz off. On Tuesday morning, Ms. Stefancic received phone calls from two people who explained they first started taking calls about a month ago from a deeply accented man pitching duct-cleaning services.

To add to Ms. Stefancic’s misery, her dog, Kita, barked whenever the phone rang. The deluge of calls continued for almost two days, and Kita barked herself to the point where she just stopped.

Ms.  Stefancic’s phone provider, Primus, started monitoring her phone and estimated that at certain times, two to three calls were being made to her line every second. The company concluded she was a victim of a rising practice known as caller ID “spoofing.” It often involves unscrupulous telemarketers or con artists. Unfortunately, tracking down spoofers is difficult, especially as many are believed to be operating at call-in centres in southern Asia.

The telemarketers or crooks often use phone numbers they purchase online for a specific area code. Technology allows them to pass on those numbers as their own when making calls to potential targets. The idea is that those receiving the calls will more likely answer their phones if they see a number on the caller ID display with the same area code as their own.

But if no one answers, the falsified number is still registered on the phone’s caller ID. There could be hundreds or thousands, depending on the size of the call-centre operation.

Ms. Stefancic’s husband, Glenn, disconnected the phone on Monday and Tuesday nights so they could sleep, though in doing so it compromised their home security system.

“It’s invasive, intrusive and insidious,” says Ms. Stefancic. In an email to her MP, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Ms. Stefancic says she received calls from “dentists, employees of the Supreme Court, doctors, day-care providers,” and people who were “Arabic, French, English, Scottish, Italian.”

Another problem is that spoofers may not be fraudsters, and simply working as foreign telemarketers for Canadian clients. CRTC spokeswoman Céline Legault says the commission is “working with our international partners to try to find solutions.” She says complaints about spoofing should be made to the CRTC. She says spoofing cases in which fraud is suspected are turned over to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Content retrieved from: http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/frustrated-ottawa-couple-may-never-know-who-is-secretly-using-their-phone-number-to-make-telemarketing-calls.