'Spoofing' interfering with criminal investigations - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

'Spoofing' interfering with criminal investigations

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

We've found a growing number of cases with investigators fighting for clues through phone calls and text messages made with disguised numbers.

We found a series of phone apps that will mask your real number so that a fake one shows on the other person's caller ID.  You can even alter your voice at the touch of a button.

Records show this has interfered with local investigations into cases involving the robbery of a pizza deliveryman, even a murder.

Meantime, Westlake Police are warning residents of so-called spoofing.  Police say at least twice, pranksters have called Westlake residents posing as police with the police number showing up in caller ID. Police say, in at least one case, the caller was apparently looking for money, too.

Police point out in some cases that can be a violation of federal law.

In those other investigations, we're seeing police request records from the companies behind the apps--demanding the real phone numbers used.

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