Have you received a phone call that appeared to come from someone in your community but actually came from a solicitor a half a world away? If so, you’ve been the victim of Caller ID spoofing.
With recent advancements in technology, it’s easier than ever for a caller to falsify the information transmitted to your caller ID to lure you into answering the call. Caller ID is not associated with the actual phone number where the call originates, but is part of the initial call setup, or programming, which allows the caller to manipulate the Caller ID to display a different number from the actual number where the call originates.
Caller ID Spoofing is often used in an attempt to trick you into revealing your personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally. Here are some tips to avoid spoofing scams.
- Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you do answer, hang up immediately.
- If you answer the phone and you are told you can press a button to stop getting the calls, just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
- Do not respond to any questions, even those that can be answered with "Yes" or "No."
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
- If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request.
- Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
- There are apps you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls. Information on robocall blocking tools is available on the FCC’s website.
Here are additional resources on what you can do to protect your information: