Scammers are using fake caller IDs to trick you into picking up the phone. Learn how you can protect your personal information.
Have you been receiving phone calls from numbers that look similar or identical to yours? Chances are you’re a victim of neighbor spoofing, along with thousands of other people in the United States. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued a $120 million fine to a telemarketer for spoofed robocalls, the largest fine ever in FCC history.
What is Neighbor Spoofing?
Con artists and scammers are using a new technique called neighbor spoofing to get individuals to pick up the phone and share personal information. People typically don’t answer the phone for an out-of-state or blocked number, so scammers had to get creative.
The scammer will use a phone spoofing program to call someone using a phone number that’s very similar to theirs. The idea is that the victim will answer, thinking it’s someone they know. Once they answer, it’s possible they can fall into a bigger trap by answering questions or pushing buttons for the scammer.
Tips for Avoiding Phone Spoofing Scams
- A good rule to follow is if you don’t know who it is, don’t pick up the phone. In most cases, robocallers and con artists are calling you from multiple numbers to see if your phone number is an active line, opening you up for more scam phone calls in the future. If you think you are missing out on a phone call, know that the caller will leave a message if it is important.
- If you think someone important may be calling you, like a doctor or government office, hang up the phone and look up the known phone number for the office. Call them using the phone number you researched to verify the call.
- If you do answer, avoid responding to questions, especially yes or no questions. Your voice may be recorded and used down the road to access personal information.
- Try using call blocking apps or see if your phone carrier has any services to help limit the amount of spam phone calls.
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry, this should help reduce the amount of scam calls you receive and screen for fraudulent callers.
- If you do answer a call, make sure to not give away any personal information. If you’re asked to use your keypad or supply money or information, hang up. The caller should already know who they are speaking with; if they do not, it is most likely a spoof phone call.