Apple wants your iPhone to warn you of spoofed calls

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Apple wants to help prevent phone spoofing.
"Hello ma'am, this is, ugh, John from your bank. Could you tell me your account number?"
Photo: Pexel/Donald Tong

Everyone loathes telemarketers, but  phone scammers are much worse. Spoofers are people who trick the phone system into mis-identifying the number they are calling from. This causes people to believe they are talking to their bank or credit card company, not a criminal. Apple wants to help prevent phone spoofing.

The company filed a patent application for a system to automatically identify when an incoming call isn’t coming from where it says it is.

Many people simply let all incoming calls from unknown numbers go directly to voice mail, but spoofers aren’t calling from an unknown number. They’re tricking the Caller ID system into displaying the details they want the recipient to see. Hopefully someone they trust.

Phone spoofing is illegal, and subject to a $10,000 fine for each violation.

Apple’s proposed anti phone spoofing system

Apple’s patent filing is for “Detection of Spoofed Call Information,” and was made April 5, 2017.

Apple’s description says “A mobile device receives an invitation to commence a media session. The invitation may be from a legitimate caller or from a spoofing caller. The mobile device checks parameters using templates to evaluate a consistency of the invitation with respect to a database in the mobile device.”

In less stilted terms, for each incoming call, the iPhone will check the networking equipment used to transfer the call, network identifiers, and carrier identifiers, looking for known patterns of call spoofers.

If the anti phone spoofing system believes the caller’s ID is being faked, it will alert the user.  

Please note that this is very different from a system trying to block phone spam. Telemarketing is legal, and the companies that use it aren’t engaged in criminal activity. Just an unpopular one.