Scammers can fake caller ID info

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Your phone rings. You recognize the number, but when you pick up, it’s someone else. What’s the deal?

Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they are someone local, someone you trust – like a government agency or police department, or a company you do business with – like your bank or cable provider. The practice is called caller ID spoofing, and scammers don’t care whose phone number they use. One scammer recently used the phone number of an FTC employee.

Don’t rely on caller ID to verify who’s calling. It can be nearly impossible to tell whether the caller ID information is real. Here are a few tips for handling these calls:

  • If you get a strange call from the government, hang up. If you want to check it out, visit the official (.gov) website for contact information. Government employees won’t call out of the blue to demand money or account information.
  • Don’t give out — or confirm — your personal or financial information to someone who calls.
  • Don’t wire money or send money using a reloadable card. In fact, never pay someone who calls out of the blue, even if the name or number on the caller ID looks legit.
  • Feeling pressured to act immediately? Hang up. That’s a sure sign of a scam.

Want more tips for avoiding scams? Check out 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud.

If you’ve received a call from a scammer, with or without fake caller ID information, report it to the FTC and the FCC.

Comments

I totally agree, I have complained to ATT many times only to hear that they can't do anything about it. I can't believe that with all the tech we have available to us someone can't trace back to these people.

They can. They choose not to.

The post is correct that they can spoof caller ID. There is another thing called ANI that cannot be spoofed. The phone company chooses not to share that data with you.

Great idea! Telecom industry doesn't hesitate to charge us for any and/or all new innovations so why shouldn't they be responsible for all of this miserable scanning!

Why in the world would you think scammers pay the charges for any phone bills? Doesn't that just about defeat the purpose? Money to scammers only flows one way: TO them. Never FROM them.

Many times those calls originate from other countries where the scammers actually get assistance from the telco company there for a cut of the proceeds. The telco's here can't cross international borders to stop it on their own.

I've received calls displaying my deceased husband name and number. Cruel.

Received a scam call this morning from 914-356-8711 with a robo call message from a Ms Scott claiming that this was a final notice from the Dept. of United States Treasury concerning a tax filed against me. Message stated to call their hot line number before this goes to federal claims court or you get arrested. Knew this was a scam since I owe no taxes. I did not respond to the call but wanted to report this offence. Their hotline number was the same number that appeared in the call ID 914-356-8711.

I got the same call.

I have been receiving calls from IRS (fake) from 2 days. from numbers 252-207-2119 and 251-213-8798

I also get many calls, and sometimes the caller id shows my number as the caller. Since I am retired and bored staying at home, thus I just listen to their pitch, and then hang up without saying a word.

I just began to get your alert emails about a week ago, and I find them very informative. I won't fall for another scammer's plan for me. Thank you for being available for me. Your alerts are valuable to me.

For the obvious scammer calls, I advise them this is a do-not-call number and they are in violation of FCC Regulations. Then I start into their Miranda Rights -that's when they hang up. Often, I don't answer "unavailable" with no recognizable phone numbers.

But then this: Was expecting calls from the Seattle Museum of Flight, so answered the "unavailable" with no number. Both calls were the expected ones from different offices of the museum.

I'm a senior citizen who is getting fed up with my landline and cell phones ringing constantly everyday.I've had both my phones on the Do Not Call registry since 2011. I've received calls that the IRS is investigating my home,taking me to court, free trips, for free making my home a solar home when I live in an apartment, Microsoft who never would never call and so many more. I hang up up on them but I decided to take action and file a complaint with the FTC for every call I get.

I agree the FTC should be going after these Scammers and doing their jobs! I'm tired of being on the Do Not Call Directory and still get calls on my Land Line and especially my Cell Phone EVERY day!!! About Credit Cards and lowering Interest, won vacations free, but they need money, free, Cruises, they have tried calling wanting me to get on computer and follow their directions and follow their directions and to many to name. It is beginning to become a constant thing the PHONES RINGING regular wanting to SCAN it is almost most od the day when is the FTC going to go after these people stop them from taking honest peoples money and charging them and putting them in prision that is what the FTC's job is to enforce the law can't have a moments piece for the PHONE CALLS EVERY DAY!!!!

Keep getting phone calls saying my phone is screwing up the internet--they are from Microsoft engeneers--need to have me go on line so they can fix--same call to my mother-in-law who is 87 and does not have a computer

Blow a whistle . I had a call tonight from a prison on my cheap cell. I did not have my whistle, guess I need to carry it by the phone.

Not more than 10 minutes ago I received a call purportedly from the IRS that they have initiated a lawsuit against me and if I wanted more information she gave me a number to call. If I don't recognize the phone number on caller i.d., I let the machine answer. Saves a lot of aggravation.

The IRS never calls you if anything they respond by mail.

I have had a number of calls to tell me that I qualify for grants from the Federal Government because I pay my taxes on time. I just have to give them my banking information or a prepaid card to collect the money. I will never give any banking information to someone requesting my information. If the government wants me to receive money, they will mail a check. Don't fall for these scams.

Was the number2132719210 and then you are to call 2028476851 a Grant manager and they ask why you're calling SO evidently they are doing more than one scam at a time

That happen to me someone from the Philippines hacked my FB and was able to get money from my grandson ... I told them I was just a phone call away why did you not call me ? But my grandson was just 16 years old and all the while he was chatting with me ... So be careful out there ... FB should do their part in protecting their users ... Users Beware !!! Ads from China should be ban too they are selling clothes that are imitation of designers I was almost a victim ... Check out this website or ads Fashion Mia, Eric Dress JJHouse etc all from China with addresses in London....

If a company hasn't lived up to its promises about a product, you can file a complaint with the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.

You can report international scams at econsumer.gov. That's a partnership of 36 consumer protection agencies around the world.

When you file a complaint with the FTC or econsumer.gov, the details you give go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Thank you again for this very valuable information, and the dedication of this department to protect consumers and American citizens. I would like to add one other option to your list. The on line White Pages directory allows you to do a revers phone number search. It's simple. You key in the number of the caller, and very often it will display that the caller is a fraud and there have been several complaints about that particular phone number. I use this each time I get an unidentified caller where there is only a phone number, or a caller that I have had no affiliation with. It provides more information to be used in reporting these callers to the Do not call list, and the FCC and FTC. I hope this helps.

For what little value they provide for cost of service, get TPC to delete all scam calls or spoofed numbers. Let LEGITIMATE comp-0anies get registered licenses for their business calls

Unwanted emails are sent to spam@uce.gov. The scamphone callerss are referred to 1-877-382-4357 - never hear from them again.

The phone number (1-877-382-4357) is the FTC's consumer response center.

I am a retired Telco employee; ATT,GTE & Verizon. I have stated this before: Every telephone number,or real is registered in a Telco. The Billing Dept. Bills the true number. CLID has nothing to do with billing. The TELCO simply does not want to go after the companies who are harassing the end user: You and me!Their rational is money from the perpetrators as well as we the victims! FTC is aware of that and yet they keep telling us how to avoid being scammed. I wonder why they don't do something significant ie, file a law suit or have a Congressional hearing!

I'm a retired AT&T employee. What you assert sounds like total B.S. . The phone companies can't decide who is scamming. What, they should listen in and based on what they hear decide if it's a scammer? The phone company doesn't make enough on these calls to compensate for the annoyance of their customers. The revenue they gain from scam calls is very very little. They may make a little more on the robo calls, but only a small percentage of robo calls are scamming calls. My guess is that we need new laws and regulations to make spoofing CLID information impossible.

all scams

Thanks for the information. I am very aware of phone scammers due to the FTC sending out all their great information. I have found out that the scammers do not leave messages if you do not answer your phone. They just hang up, but they do continue to call, multiple times and hang up every time. I then go in my settings on my phone and type in the phone number that keeps calling and block it. Please listen to the police and other authorities and never give out any of you personal information. People do not realize that the scammers threats are a very bad bullying technique. Hang up on them! Thank you FTC!

I've had several occasions where the caller ID showed MY name and MY number! These scammers are totally out of control, and need to be reined in -- preferably into Alcatraz, for a couple of centuries. The phone companies have the ability to block these SOBs (Sweet Old Boys, that is), but these scammers are a source of income that they're unwilling to give up. Where are our lawmakers in the midst of all this? Unwilling to bite the hands that feed them, that's where.

Recently while watching TV my phone rang. The number comes up on my TV screen. I looked quickly thinking it was one of my kids. I picked up and it was one of those, there's something wrong with your computer scams! I hung up. I went back to look at the number that called,low and behold it was MY phone number!! These idiots are simply amazing. I'll bet I've had at least 6 scam calls in just two weeks....I'm so tired of it. I've gotten if I don't recognize the number I refuse to answer. It's simply disgusting.

I have had my phone number used, it shows up on other people's called ID then they call me back and ask why I called them. This happens for a few days every few months. Verizon can't do anything about it, I filed a complaint with the FCC. The only thing that might stop it is if these websites where you can put in a number to call and mask it with any number you choose are shut down. Here is a quick Google list of some of them: [link removed]

This exact thing has been happening to me for quite a while now. I spoke with AT&T again today and it is clear that they can do nothing about it. I agree with your assessment of what should be done. Frankly, I don't want to change the phone number I have had for years but that may be the only practical answer to this -- until the new number is captured and it starts all over again.

Someone used a voice call on Iphone several times but I can't answer them because I am deaf person. I saved these phone numbers and plan to check with Verizon about my complains. When FB asked me for phone numbers, I refused to release it even to Google too. I don't know where they get my iphone numbers.

just wondering why on this site there are numbers 'the people' are giving out of these scammers and the fcc does not set a sting operation. some of these numbers are still in operation, i know this because i keep calling these clowns asking where do they want me to take the money-click is all i get-lol

I sometimes give them an earful of profanity. I know it's illegal, but they haven't complained. If I knew some profanity in Eastern European languages, I would use it.

Its not illegal to use profanity...lol

Lost 4000$ last week because of a fake IRS call, didn't know about it :(

You can report the call to the FTC and to TIGTA (the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration). Include the phone number it came from, along with any details you have. If you sent money by wire transfer, you can report to the wire transfer company too.

Seems to me we're almost approaching point of entire phone system melting down. I get an average of 30 scam calls a day. The Don't Call list is absolutely useless. My service has a blocked # list, but it's useless as many are masked with my own name/number. Even the block unidentified call option is useless as it only applies to an individual dialer who has blocked display of the call. It will block individual prankers or obscene callers but the scammers don't use that. The masking numbers used by scammers are changed so regularly that even when blocked, you'll soon be receiving the calls under another #. I don't do Facebook or Twitter and have a cell phone on a buy airtime basis that I use only for emergencies and special situations and vacations. I only answer calls on my land line from numbers/names I know or when I'm expecting the call. But I get tired of galloping to check the caller ID and reviewing the list of calls after I'm away.

I so agree! I get phone calls 2 to 3 times a day from Ny saying something about government money!!!

Since you can't call yourself from your own phone number, you *CAN* add your own number to your blocked calls list. I have and it works. But the scammers are getting smart--they change one or 2 digits so you think it's a neighbor or local company calling, and sometimes it the number of someone you actually know, do you can't block it. Changing your number or not giving out your number won't help, they just call huge blocks of numbers, so you will get calls on your new number, too.

I am 100% disable and wheel chair bound and i get at least 2 - 3 calls each and every day from these scammers,pretending to be microsoft engineers or micosoft tech service and i have just won a trip or they are calling because i or a friend of mine gave them my number and also this one is a dooozie, returning my call!!!!! I don't call these people, i buy nothing on the internet anymore, got hijacked there.

I estimate that 3 out of 4 calls I receive are frauds, such as the Microsoft scam and offers to lower the rates on my credit cards. I have been told I have won trips, hotel stays, etc. I have been on the "Do not call list" since its inception. Trouble is the scammers know this list is no longer enforced so they don't care. It would be a monumental task to go after these people at this point but someone in authority had better do it soon or phones will become something you can only find in a museum.

It's getting so that you can't even trust nobody I've gotten several phone calls about grants

Get a small digital voice recorder. Dial a number that you know is not in service. When the phone companies computer answers with the three tones we all hate, record them. Now when some number you don't recognize calls, answer but play the tones before you start to talk. This takes your number out of their system automatically.

that idea doesn't work. the automated dialers are not fooled by that. This is what a device that was sold tried to do and it doesn't work. FYI to everyone complaining about what good is the national DNC (do not call) registry...it is for REPUTABLE companies and reputable companies will adhere to the FCC DNC rules and the listing...scammers, phishers and crooks never will.

There is virtually nothing that you can do to have your number removed from the spoofing caller's system. It's a database that uses "orange box" hardware or software to generate a spoofed number under software control. That's why the Caller ID might show a number with the same area code and trunk as your number that's in their database. It's not the FTC's fault, nor that the DNC list is useless. Scammers simply flaunt the law, plain and simple.

I get calls fro my grandson who has an injury and needs money, someone who wants to give me a credit card, Messages from my banks saying that they detected something wrong with my account and its been frozen, that I won a trip, that Microsoft has found that my computer has a virus and they want to fix it. Isn't it great that our FBI can't find these folks, I guess they don't get these calls. Oh yes, I've told the FTC but still get these calls.

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