The main purpose of these caller ID spoofing services is to reach a larger customer base.
After Caller ID became available there were privacy concerns and the phone company allowed the blocking of caller ID by entering a code into your
phone (*67 in my home state of NY). In addition to those who wanted the privacy, various companies also began to block their outgoing caller
information when contacting people. The companies did not want to receive call backs from people who might have been upset at them or from people
using the call return feature (*69 in NY).
Needless to say this caused a pretty big backlash from consumers at the onslaught of "Private Caller" phone calls they'd be receiving so a feature
was developed that allowed callers to block calls from those who kept their ID private (*77). A person who dialed *77 wouldn't get those bothersome
phone calls in the middle of dinner, while in the shower etc.
In response to this, the companies began spoofing caller ID information. Generally this is done using VoIP, but it can be done by businesses with
their own phone systems as well. Since the ID is spoofed they don't have to worry about people calling them back, and they also bypass the private
call blockers as long as SOMETHING comes up on the caller ID.
As someone mentioned above the VoIP call ID spoofers are publicly available and actually quite cheap. Personally, I use them for jokes, particularly
on Halloween when I was calling all my friends from (666) 666-6666. It gave people quite a laugh and was well worth the few dollars I bought the card
The only limitations on the commercially available ones is that you are unable to place calls to 911 and your desired caller ID appearence must follow
the conventional format of (###) ###-####. That means you can't call people from 411, 911, 0, etc.
One thing to keep in mind though is that using them for illegal purposes will get you in trouble as the popular services like SpoofCard do log every
call made using their system and will hand over the records if subpoenaed (as stated on their site).
Anyone receiving such phone calls should keep in mind this is a multi-billion dollar presidential election that we're seeing unfold and every phone
call is critical. These people will use spoofers to reach out to those voters who block private calls as there are hundreds of thousands of them. I
wouldn't be alarmed at all.
Bottom line is, if for some reason you do feel uncomfortable answering a spoofed ID... don't pick up. The machine will move on to the next name on
the list and annoy them instead.
Calling them back is a complete and utter waste of your time because it's not their number. It's not anyone's number. (202) 000-0000 can not
exist because 000 is not a proper exchange. I don't want to bore everyone any more though...