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I received a lot of SMS-es from a guy where the phone number changed every time. I can answer to these SMS-es, so I think it's only a spoofing of the sender ID of the SMS header which will be displayed in the phone.

My question is:

how can I retrieve the header content of an SMS, to find the real phone number?

I have an iPhone.

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The problem with this is that it's likely coming from an email server instead of an actual phone.

I had a similar situation, but they were benevolent circumstances. I had a difficult time working at home to know when to stop working at maybe eat. My friend set up a shell script that would run at 5pm EST that would SMS me to remind me to grab some dinner and maybe stop working if I was at a good stopping point. Each time the SMS arrived, it would be an incremented number. He had also previously set it up to remind me at lunch to eat lunch and to take cigarette breaks throughout the day. Those numbers were different even from each other and incremented on their own.

So say you find the header info and find out the email address of the sender. Great. Well, it's ridiculously easy to register a new email address, or even spoof one with an open mail relay. This can all be scripted and automated.

  • There are even a ton of free web portals that will shoot an SMS for you. – Cory J Feb 6 '13 at 20:03
  • I believe there are also Android apps that will SMS bomb someone for you from your phone/tablet. – g3k Feb 6 '13 at 20:04
  • with an email server, I could answer to the guy even with the spoofed ID? – Pier-Alexandre Bouchard Feb 6 '13 at 20:18
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    If you could figure out the sender's information. There is something as a User Data Header that's attached to SMS (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_Data_Header), but the Google results for UDH SMS iPhone really only give you results for a vulnerability in iOS that was disclosed a while ago. Your carrier might be able to assist. – g3k Feb 6 '13 at 22:10
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There was a vulnerability in old iphones which enabled an attacker to spoof the SMS originator number - in the SMS headers (in the TP-Reply-Path).

AFAIK nowadays it's only possible to spoof using SMPP server. In order to trace the number you should contact the network operator or the police (which you did). You must have their cooperation.

In order to protect yourself from this number you can do 3 things :

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