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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.

Scam Tags:  Phone Scams


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

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) 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.

If someone calls asking for your social security number, bank account information, etc. and you believe them to be legit (but they could be scammers), tell them that they should already have that information, and hang up before they are able to say anything else!!

Got 2 text messages today supposedly from American Express wanting me to go to a specific ip address and validate my account information. These came from 2 different numbers. Sorry I've already deleted the messages so I can't tell you what they were. All I remember is 844 area code. I know this is a scam because I do not have an American Express card. Haven't for several years...

Comcast has outsourced their service and scammers are using their numbers to offer fake rewards packages. I called Comcast and asked the employee who answered if the offer was legit. He was in on it and confirmed. I asked for his boss. Kept going up the line and never got any help. Never trust Comcast, EVER!! They have offices in other countries and they give your info to their friends and then feed you to them when you call in to verify.

I get these calls and emails just about daily. Many times we get calls from Jamaica late at night. If we hang up they just keep calling back several times. Very annoying very late or during the middle of the night.

So how/why can they spoof the caller ID information? Telephone companies are heavily regulated. The telephone network is not the internet. How is it that they allow spoofing? Maybe some new regulations or laws are needed?

What I don't understand is how they have my cell phone number my cell phone is private I get fake calls to my cell phone not to my landline I just don't understand where they getting my cell phone number

MsX: The majority of the time they don't know your specific number. They use auto-dialers that attempt to call every possible number in numerical order. If your # ends in 1234, you'll be dialed right after 1233 and right before 1235.


Another Scam alert: Hang up if a call from 987-564-3231 shows up on your Caller ID. These creeps are calling from somewhere overseas (probably China, from the sound of the person's accent) saying they're calling about your computer. The first time he called I just told him "Bullcrap!" and slammed down the phone. He then calls back nearly two hours later, and hangs up when he hears my voice. Even worse, these monsters tend to prey mostly on the elderly, as many of them are not so tech-savvy.

I like that one,act stupid, oh yeah my windows need to be wash

Do you recall the number

I received the same Robo call message from they said officer Brianna Scott caller ID said number 914-356-8711, said they were with US Treasury, and a suit was filed against us for tax. Scammers, don't fall for it..They are losers

Tell them that you need to get your company number for them to call your husband/wife...pause...then give them the phone numbers to the Homeland Security line, FCC, and or FBI. Best to not answer, but they are buying local area code numbers from Verizon and Sprint to use. Write down numbers everytime. The govt agencies will DO NOTHING TO HELP as they are too busy listening to citizens calls, but take out a complaint against the cell phone company selling numbers. Google the number to see who owns it. That company has to respond to the BBB or Their value and rating goes down with each complaint. The BBB has more power than the FBI. Protect yourself and organize your neighbors and homeowners association. If you paid taxes they have everything but your credit card security code. Always ask to call them back...they will hang up. My favorite is to read the plagues of the Old Testament to them. If you get your phone from cable,it is not a land line. Never accept a call on your cell...ever.

I think the best way to prevent the phone scams is to create mandatory training and policies for any site that sells pseudo cash transactions. Since a simple nudge to the scam victim will wake them up. I consider gift cards and wire transfer services defective products if they do not incorporate scam proofing that is trivial to implement. As a result in the future those products will not be as available for the scammers to exploit and the will have to move on to some other harder to execute method. Basically the key is to stop the phone scams at the point of the retail financial transactions by making the retailer responsible for the loss if they don't follow appropriate protective procedures. I would love to make that retroactive since in my opinion banks and gift card companies are doing most of the harm by shaming the victims and abdicating their role in crime enablement through legal barriers in their policies.

I had a Company call and leave a message that said you are listed as a emergency contact please call right away. Once I call this # 214-396-5863 I ask for the company name they wouldn't give it to me they said oh we have the person you need to talk to. This lady said she was from the fraud division and on an E-payday loan from 2009 that I committed bank fraud I needed to get an attorney or pay them 3886.00 when the payday loan was for 150.00

I had paid 50.00 of it when I called them to say I was laid off 09/2009 to send me a bill they said no it had to be a bank card so they hit my bank everyday that week till they ran my bank charge up to 600.00 way over what the loan was so the bank shut the account down. I paid the bank back the fees of 600.00 and never opened another account. SO she said that was Bank Fraud they are coming after me. Once again I ask what there company name was and she said get a lawyer and hung up on me the phone # goes to a James Conner voicemail not listing the name of the company. I call the Texas Attorney Generals Office the consumer fair debt department.

The Do Not Call Registry Does Not Work-I get several calls daily that are spam and when looked up, are typically calls trying to get financial information. The Do Not Call Registry is a wast of taxpayers $$,.

If FTC knows these things are happening, why haven't they enacted rules to stop it. Or are they getting a kick back from the scammers? When do consumers count as much as scam businesses?

My parents are getting calls with their own caller id info. I notice a lot of calls are now coming in from my area code I suspect they get a larger number of people answering. It's getting to the point were, unrecognized numbers aren't being answered by me and when they don't leave a message I block them. Of course they could just spoof another phone number. Something really needs to be done about this. It's criminal impersonation.

I was receiving numerous calls a day, but since i have an answering machine, and never answer one of these calls, the amt of calls i get now is very little. Every once in a while a new numbers pops up, i just let it go to voicemail, and a few times this number ceases to call anymore.

yes I got mail say that we are sent important message we are from lorry department pls give information about you and bank account number.

I figured it was only a matter of time before the criminals started using fake cell phone towers to hack phones with fake texts. It may have started.

It would be very nice if there really is a way to track where the calls are coming from originally. By doing so, a lot of these scammers would be stopped and possibly arrested. Some of these calls are occurring quite constantly, and they just don't want to leave us alone even if we tell them to. However, it always puzzles me if they are actually calling from such switching centers or if they are just using them as routers to make the calls. Either scenario is possible on that.

I have been getting calls from a place that tells me the government wants to give me money that I can use for any thing I want and I don't have to pay back they call and ask me stuff and then tell me to call this other number to get the money release but I tell them I know its a scam but they keep calling me and when I called the other number there's a machine that takes your name but they don't ansear the phone

I like to know if this is a scam or not I signed up for a home warranty at this place called secure home warranty and they charged me 372 dollars but when it came time to need some thing fixed they told me there only going to pay 150 and I have to pay the rest which is 1300 that I have to pay if so why have a home warranty I could of used the 375 to get some one else to do the work there still bugging me in to paying them the 1300.00 I want to know what I can do they wont give me my money back or pay to have my stuff fixed what should I do please can some one help me

You can look at the contract you got when you signed up for the warranty. It should explain what the warranty will cover, and what you are supposed to pay.

If you think the company is not doing what the contract says, you can complain to your state Attorney General’s office. The Attorney General's office might tell you other places you can call in your state to get help.

I am pleased for the information given such as do not press 1 or whatever to request removal from list. I did that pre reading the helps and sure enough the robo calls increased. THANK YOU FOR THE INFORMATION

Got a call from 206-382-4357, caller ID said Seattle, Wash. "Enforcement action executed by the US Treasury intending your serious attention. Ignoring this will be an intentional second attempt to avoid initial appearance before a magistrate judge or a grand jury for a Fed4eral Criminal Offense. This is the final attempts to reach you. To resolve this immediately and to speak to a Federal Agent call back 206-494-0739." The police were notified, they suggested notifying the FTC.

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Comments you post here on the blog don't go into the database.

I have been receiving calls from "Steve Martin" at 310-301-4267, does not use my name, repeats three times all exactly the same that there will be enforcement action by a Federal Magistrate or Grand Jury for a Federal Offense.

252-207-5819 Scam artist Criminal Investigation department DON"T BELIEVE them!

I had an incoming call from my brother's home number, or so I thought! I answered & it was a foreign woman asking if i was [MY FIRST NAME] and that she was Donnya (SP?) from "U.S. Financials" i immediately hung up. I text my bro & told him & he said they disconnected the home phone last August!

(202)400-0857 is another. Said I had won a 7 thousand dollar grant for school and continued to say they would have the Money direct deposited today if I gave them my bank info. I said so let me get this right you want my bank info so you can take money out of my account right? Silence then click. People these days!

BEWARE of a company called "PORTFOLIO RECOVERY." They NEVER stop calling and always change their phone number. The following are just some they use: 205-396-3627; 412-847-5582; 626-521-5311;404-865-3247;440-638-5676;731-345-4203;620-263-3546;205-396-3627. Awful people, they need to be stopped!!!

If this is a debt collector, you have rights under federal law. We’ve written on this blog about it before and you can also find information about your rights in this article. Debt collectors are prohibited from saying that legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don’t intend to take the action. In addition, debt collectors may not contact you at work if they’re told (orally or in writing) that you’re not allowed to get calls there.

The law also gives you a right to dispute the debt. You must send a letter to the debt collector disputing the debt or part of it. Then, the debt collector has to obtain verification of the debt and mail it to you.

Please report your experience at so it becomes part of the FTC database that's used by investigators nationwide. We can't address complaints that you discuss in the blog comments.

Add 202-494-0739 to the list. I got a call today saying it was the IRS and they had been trying to get in touch with me. They told me they were going to issue a warrant for my arrest if I did not pay by Monday. I called FTC to confirm and yes it was definitely a scam.

I saw on the news that people from Afghanistan are calling people here with scams and spoofing. The reporter asked, Why? And told him, "it's our job." I do get a lot of calls but I usually don't answer. A few times my own number and name showed on my caller Id. I knew it was a poof!


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