By Aniket Bose. Edited by Arjun Chandrasekar.


“Spoofing” is a type of scam in which criminals attempt to attain someone else’s personal information while pretending to be a legitimate business, neighbor, firm, or any other innocent party. It is used by criminals to trick you into giving up your personal information and investment profile like stocks, cryptocurrencies, funds, bonds, etc.

There are six main types of spoofing that criminals use to hack your personal information and your investment profile: Email,  Text Message, Caller ID, Neighbor, URL, and GPS. Let’s go over each one in more detail.

Email Spoofing

Email spoofing is often referred to as “phishing”. This form of spoofing is used by both dishonest advertisers for their business, and outright thieves. The spoofer usually sends out emails with a falsified “From:” line as a method to trick victims by convincing them that the email is from a friend, their bank, or any other legitimate source related to the victim. If there is an email asking for your password, requesting access to your investment profile, Social Security number, or any other personal information, it could be a spoofer trying to trick you into giving up your information. It may seem obvious not to give out your personal information, but they have methods to trick you, so always stay on top of these messages!

Text Message Spoofing

Text Message Spoofing is also referred to as “smishing”, and it is very similar to email spoofing. The text messages you receive may appear to be from a legitimate source, like your main bank. These text messages usually request that you call a certain phone number or click a specific link within the message, having the main goal to get you divulging your personal information and getting access to your investment profile. 

Caller ID Spoofing

In Caller ID spoofing, the spoofer typically falsifies the phone number that they are calling from to hide their identity and calls in hope of getting you to pick up their call. On your caller ID, it might appear at first that the call is coming from a legitimate business or a government agency, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is important to note that the IRS doesn’t call taxpayers to tell them that they owe the IRS taxes without sending a physical bill in the mail first, so you can avoid these spoofing calls from giving up your personal information and investment profile.  

Neighbor Spoofing

This type of caller ID spoofing where the call will appear to be from someone you think you know or someone who lives near you. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that the truth in caller ID act prevents “anyone from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information to defraud your personal information, stealing your investments from your investment profile, causing harm or wrongly obtaining anything that is of value.” If the spoofer is caught in their acts (and this is a very big “if”), then the spoofer can face penalties and fees up to $10,000 for each violation they committed. 

URL Spoofing

This type of spoofing occurs when scammers attempt to set up a fraudulent website to obtain personal information from innocent people or to install a virus on their computer. For example, victims may be directed to a site that may appear to be very similar to their bank’s website or credit card company’s and would be prompted to enter their username and password to log in. If the victim is not cautious and logs in on the website with their information, the scammer could use their information and access the victims accounts;then they would be able to steal investments from their investment profiles. 

GPS Spoofing

This type of spoofing has a somewhat different purpose compared to the other methods of spoofing. GPS spoofing is an attempt to trick an innocent person by making them believe that they are in a different location or headed to a different location. This is done by scammers by broadcasting bogus GPS signals, or other means, to convince the victim that they are in a different location. At this point in our society, GPS spoofing is more commonly used by people in warfare or by gamers, rather than targeting individual consumers, even though the technology exists to make anyone vulnerable from this form of spoofing.

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