Bendigo couple caught up in ‘phone spoofing’ scam; say their number has been cloned and used by telemarketers

'Phone spoofing' involves duplicating, or cloning, landline numbers and using the numbers to make telemarketing calls.
'Phone spoofing' involves duplicating, or cloning, landline numbers and using the numbers to make telemarketing calls.

An Eaglehawk couple believe they are they latest victims of a sophisticated telecommunications scam known as ‘phone spoofing’.

The practice involves cloning or imitating existing phone numbers and calling other numbers in a similar area to make it appear the call is legitimate.

Jim and Norma Wright began getting return phone calls on Thursday.

“I told them I haven’t called them, I didn’t know what was going on,” Norma said.

The pair believe they are not the only Eaglehawk phone number to become embroiled in the scam.

“It’s not good enough, it’s got to stop,” she said.

And while the phone calls eased off over the weekend, the pair are concerned about how their number became involved and how little their communications provider – Telstra – knew about the scam or how to deal with it.

At its peak, the couple would receive more than 20 return calls per day, leaving them wondering how many calls had been made from the cloned number.

Norma believes it’s telemarketers and has spoken with people returning calls supposedly from her from Daylesford, Maldon and numerous Bendigo suburbs.

They hope their number is not being used to make international calls for which they will be charged.

Phone spoofing, or overridding a caller line identification (CLI), is used legitimately by certain organisations to block or obscure the caller’s number, but more serious, illegal cases of telecommunications fraud have been reported across Australia.

Australia’s telecommunications regulator –  the Australian Communications and Media Authority – has very few guidelines for victims of phone spoofing.

Telstra was contacted for comment.