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A SMS message was sent to several students at my son's school claiming to be my son stating that he was going to shoot up the school. My family didn't receive this message but I have the phone number it was sent from. I did a reverse lookup of the number and it looks like the number was spoofed using VOIP protocol and possibly owned by Google or Bandwith. Can this be traced to the actual sender and how? There were at least 4 students how received the message. I don't know what providers they use for their phones. The police are involved but I don't know how motivated they are. They don't believe its a credible threat since my son has had previous incidents with rumors and posting on social media that he was going to shoot up the school.

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From what we understand, someone used the services provided by Google or another host to create an anonymous threat message and signed it with your son's name. Hosts such as Google usually have logs that indicate who they lent out the "temporary service" to at any given time. They would have the IP address or some other form of identifiable information associated with the entity who sent the message. It is highly unlikely that they are not maintaining any logs at all. Logs are maintained for cases such as this where improper use of services is observed.

The real question is -- can you obtain this information from the host. The short answer is -- not really. Hosts such as Google are reluctant to share such details with just anyone due to privacy concerns. Your best bet is if the law enforcement involved requests these details from the host. They are more likely to comply with the request if law enforcement demands it for a valid reason. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do as an individual. Anonymity is the nature of many Internet services.

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