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Email spoofing: Definition and how spoofing works

A friend tells you they’ve received a strange email from your address, but there’s no sign of suspicious emails in your sent mail folder. Your caller ID shows a number you recognize, but there’s a strange voice on the other end of the line. Both of these are examples of spoofing, post service or communications under a faked name.

The different meanings of spoofing

Along with email phishing, spoofing is form of fraud that has become increasingly widespread in recent years. In online communications, hackers use spoofing to gain access to networks, devices, or personal data. Generally speaking, spoofing means a person falsifying data so that they appear to be someone else. Today we’ll focus on email spoofing, but spoofing is a broad term that can encompass many different sorts of scams, including:

Call spoofing

As in our first example, caller ID spoofing is when you receive a call from a phone number that seems trustworthy – often it’s the same number as the police or another government agency. The scammers’ goal is to try to get their victims to wire them money or reveal personal data for the purpose of accessing bank accounts or even identity theft.