CallerID, escort agencies, a Cingular story ...
A while ago, a member had a traumatic experience: While calling an agency using his cell phone the agency's operator asked him if he could call back on his cell number. The member was amazed because he had dialed *67 to mask his CallerID.
As you might have witnessed, it started numerous theories on this board on how agencies could get your CallerID. Some went as far as mentionning a PC software owned by the agencies. If you would know who I am you would have guessed I was not convinced at all . The only way to deal with this potentially risky situation was to get the facts. Theories are only a useful tool to direct your facts gathering efforts.
Thanks to that member's help I think I know exactly what happened. We tested my theory and got the expected results.
Short explanation for the attention challenged members: *67 doesn't work on all networks, it works on FIDO but doesn't work on Cingular.
*67, part of the "star services" isn't a standard specially on cell phones using the GSM protocol. GSM special features rather have the following form #XX#. Some operators like FIDO in Canada have decided to offer a *XX equivalent. Others have not, like Cingular.
Finally let me warn you about something else that might appear. To my knowledge no escort agency have an 800 number. If they had an 800 number they would get your some calling info even if you *67 your call or a have a private number. To summarize the 800 rules: The callee is paying for your call therefore is entitled to know who he is paying for. 800 numbers have access to a second field identifying you, the ANI. Of course 911 call centers also have access to all the calling info, even if you *67 your call.
Hope it helps, A27
P.S. Here are some references. I used others but these are enough to help you understand.
Link showing that *67 initiates Busy Call forwarding on Cingular, NOT CallerID masking
Link to FIDO's FAQ. Look at the question "Can I use *67 to block my name and number?"