Cybersecurity
glossary

Stay a step ahead of the scammers. Educate yourself on some of the most common frauds and scams.

Spoofing

Spoofing is when a person deliberately falsifies information to disguise their identity.

What are some examples of spoofing?

Caller ID spoofing: This is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activities or sold illegally, but also can be used legitimately, for example, to display the toll-free number for a business.

Neighborhood spoofing: Robocallers use neighbor spoofing, which displays a phone number similar to your own on your caller ID, to increase the likelihood that you will answer the call.

Email spoofing: This is the forgery of an email header so that the message appears to have originated from someone or somewhere other than the actual source. Email spoofing is a tactic used in phishing and spam campaigns because people are more likely to open an email when they think it has been sent by a legitimate source

URL spoofing: A phishing website (sometimes called a "spoofed" site) tries to steal your account password or other confidential information by tricking you into believing you're on a legitimate website. You could even land on a phishing site by mistyping a URL (web address).

GPS spoofing: A GPS spoofing attack attempts to deceive a GPS receiver by broadcasting incorrect GPS signals, structured to resemble a set of normal GPS signals, or by rebroadcasting genuine signals captured elsewhere or at a different time.​

Tips to protect yourself from spoofing.

Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately. And, if you answer the phone and the caller - or a recording - asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.

Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with "Yes" or "No."

Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.

If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.

Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.

If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.