What is Caller ID spoofing?

You glance at your Caller ID and pick up the phone, expecting a neighbor or local business, only to find a telemarketer on the line. Or someone complains to you that they received a dozen spam calls from your number, but you didn't place a single call. In both cases, you've been the victim of a type of phone fraud called "spoofing."

"Spoofing" is a way companies or individuals mask their identity by changing how their name and number appear on caller ID. This can affect people in two ways:

  • You receive spam/scam calls that look like they're from your immediate area.
  • Spoofers fraudulently use your number so it looks like you are the one calling.


There are some unique cases (e.g., domestic violence shelters) when callers do this for legitimate security reasons. But more often the aim is to trick you into picking up the phone and listening to their pitch or scam.

How to protect yourself

Spoofing is a growing problem, and we are working hard to stop it. Unfortunately, scam calls often come from outside our network, which tends to make them untraceable and difficult to prevent.


However, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from spoofing:

  1. Block incoming calls with calling features. We offer a variety of calling features to help you block incoming calls. When you ordered your home phone service, you may have selected some calling features as part of your service package. You can also add calling features if there's another one you'd like to use. Depending on your package, you may be able to purchase the feature a la carte or get it for no extra cost. 

  2. Try to trace the harassing calls. It can be difficult to trace spoofed calls; however, if you do it three times, then there are some options, including working with law enforcement. The Call Trace feature is available in most areas and is pre-installed on your phone line. You're charged for the service only if you successfully complete a trace. 

  3. Get an unpublished (private) listing. With a private listing, your name, address, and phone number aren't included in the printed phone book and aren't available through Directory Assistance. There is a one-time setup fee and a monthly charge for this service.  

  4. Change your telephone number. While we understand this is probably a last resort, it can be a helpful solution for some people. In most areas, we can change your telephone number one time at no cost if you're receiving harassing calls.

If you want to change your telephone number, add or change calling features on your account, or simply have questions, contact us


If you continue to receive spoofing calls, contact the CenturyLink Annoyance Call Bureau at 800-582-0655. Be prepared to share any relevant information with them such as the dates/times you've received spoofed calls. 


To report a case of phone-related fraud, you may also submit a complaint directly to the FCC.

What is CenturyLink doing to prevent fraud?

We work hard to protect our customers from fraud. CenturyLink partners with top cybersecurity experts to proactively prevent phishing scams and cybercrime. CenturyLink cooperates with fraud investigations as needed, while ensuring that your privacy is protected at all times. We also share threat intelligence with the FBI to help monitor and track information on criminals of fraud. Finally, we work to educate and empower our customers to prevent scams before they occur and take legal action when targeted by scammers. 

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