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The millions of people who reported scams last year told us that imposters were the top fraud of the year. Imposters have called many of us – maybe even most of us, pretending to be anyone from the IRS to a family member in trouble, from fake tech “help” for your computer to a business selling things that turned out to be bogus. Their goal? To get your money as quickly as possible.

Thanks to the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, we recently heard about scammers calling to ask for contributions to the “Legal Aid Society” and pretending to be from the “national legal aid/defenders office.” A quick search of the phone number the callers used showed complaints for different kinds of imposter scams. (Of course, scammers can make caller ID show any number – even the name that shows up on the display. So don’t rely on caller ID to help you decide if a call is legit.) Imposters can pretend to be anyone, but the twist on this imposter scam is that the scammers are pretending to be from well-respected community service organizations and appealing to your civic spirit.

To make sure your donation dollars are doing the good you want them to, learn more about giving wisely. If you get a dubious call, or one that pressures you to donate right away, tell the FTC so we can investigate. We rely on you – and our partners in your community – to tell us what you’re seeing. In fact, our most recent imposter scam case – against a company that pretended to be from a community help center, the government, radio stations, and companies like Walmart – came about because of a tip from a legal services group in Washington, DC. So every report, from everyone, makes a difference.

Tagged with: charity, imposter, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


How about making caller id work as it was intended and making it much, much more difficult for the scammers to forge the caller id?

I pay my phone service provider for caller id service every month, but the scammers have made caller id almost usless.

Amen Brother

I am paying for premium ID caller. And its not showing me Who's calling at all. It shows me what State theyre calling from. My phone already showed me that much. So why am I paying extra? They said with Premium ID, I would see WHO is calling me. I dont see Who is calling. Why was I told that?

That's a darn good question.

I have turned my voice mail off. If I do not know by name who is calling me I just do not answer the phone

I keep my voicemail on lol. Idk about you but scammers never leave me a voicemail. They will call. I wont answer. If I don't receive a voicemail then it obviously wasn't important enough to call me for

I just don't understand why the FTC allows these scammers (or anyone else for that matter) to mask or change their numbers in order to dupe innocent people. This makes them a big part of the problem and they need to change the policy because it's really, really, stupid to let them do this.

I agree with you, and they DO have the capability to do what you suggest. Just like e-mail, which is also capable of being completely forged, all it would take is to actually check the Sending agency is as stated, it should be dropped in midstream and sent to the floor!
The REASON it doesn't happen is because ISP's el al, and phone companies do NOT want to have to rewrite their software to make those tests. They consider the spending of ANY money for this to be too much, even though, if after a version or two of their software in perfecting it, would cost them nothing until and unless they came up against new threats.
With e-mail, it takes no more than adhering to the RFC's et al; it's already written! But, it is universally ignored. Universally, yes; it's totally ignored; even though it is required. Spam could be wiped out almost overnight and the phone problems probably within a few weeks. It's the same for the phone companies.

This has nothing to do with telco having to upgrade any software, it has to do with the FTC failing to ban the use of caller ID spoofing services. You sign up for the service, they assign you a number (or in some case a random number and then your outbound calls go through the service and are forwarded out through the spoofed number.

To the writers commenting on paying for useless caller id and and who can fix it. Although the FTC does a good job of keeping us informed, I believe it is the responsibility of the FCC to regulate landline and cell phone companies. The FCC needs to step up and require these companies to fix the problem. New thought - can the FTC file against said companies for marketing and charging for services they aren't accurately supplying?

Keep getting scam calls, 609-877-5387 609-876-7664 609-875-3835 609-875-6479 609-877-4501 609-876-7949 609-876-0858 609-876-8858 609-877-1478 609-876-1606 609-877-4883 I can only block so many calls on my machine. I am disabled and this is very annoying. I do not pick up the phone as I am a senior and so many scams out their and these numbers all seem to be connected to some sort of a scan, can not even trace the name, but from Camden and Burlington. Definitely scam. Something has to be done about these set of numbers.

I think "allow" is a misconception. They spoof the caller ID, and if they're from outside the U.S. it's hard to trace and no real legal jurisdiction to do anything about it.

How about a local zone caller id, that when checked from my tablet shows it originated in Bulgaria!!

It is getting to the ridiculous with the number of scam/robo calls that are coming into my home -- at least 12 a day. When they start (of course I don't answer), the calls will then roll from phone numbers all over the country, just one after another. I have filed complaints with the FTC with many of these phone numbers that appear on my call log, but they continue to come in. I have severe cardiac diseases and have to contend with scammers on top of it. If I am in another room when my phone rings, I have to then get to my phone only to find out it's another scammer!! Something MUST be done by the FTC to put a stop to all of this crap. I am not the only one getting so many calls in a day, as my friends and family are also experiencing the same harassment!! I had a call come in the other day actually identified as "Fraud Caller???"

bjeff, that sounds awful. Fortunately I have only a cellphone. It isn't more expensive than a landline. We don't need both.
With heart issues, just inform friends and loved ones,for now, be prepared to leave a message. If it is emergeny,set up a call strategy. Such as call let it ring once or twice, hang up and call right back. That really helps make it easier. With your heart issues,it's unlikely your loved ones would object. That just my unsolicited advice based on 51 years of phone things.
I hope you're feeling good! Bless

Some people need landlines for 911 calls, as the address is associated with number and cell phones are not accurate on detecting location.Landline needed especially for someone who can't talk when in an emergency.

Some towns have a service where you can call and give them you cell number and it will link it with your home address if you call 911, but it's not available in all areas

Hi hurt,I spent 40.00 with Amazon for a call blocker that does such a great job that if a local number comes in it knows if it is really an 800 number it won't ring.I only get calls that I want to answer.This thing is great for me because I am disabled.The reason I ended up here is checking caller ID and found 51099 on there 45 times.I was searching to find out about this number.some kind of scam!

I also get many scam calls everyday on my cell ph. When I try to call a number back it either says, the number you have called is not in service at this time. Or a person will answere and I speak to them and they are normal real people that have Not called my ph. The scammers use Anybodys real ph. Number to call me. So When I Block some of those numbers...I could be Blocking someones number that I might need or want in the future...Thinking its only a scam number. But actually its a real persons personal ph. Number. They shouldnt be able to USE anybodys personal phone number. Some people could really get mad at a person for continuously calling them when they arent even the ones calling. It could possibly cause harm to somebody. The person being called might think theyre lieing about Not being the one that keeps calling. Its crazy! Somebody needs to STOP THESE SCAMMERS!!! And its totally out of controll. Oh..Dont EVER say YES when they ask you somethinng like...Can you hear me? this Mr. ? Or Mrs. ? They want to record your voice saying YES. Because if they do wind up Fooling you and you buy something from them, They have your voice saying YES, And they can TAKE ALL YOUR MONEY from your Card. They got ME 1 time and used All my money on my pre-paid credit card. They pretended to be WalMart and had a $100. Shopping card for me. But asked for JUST $1.99 In order to get my gift card. They used Every dime I had. I soon started getting different magazines that I personally did not order. ( But I sure paid for them).I also got some discount cards to Rent Cars. I threw in trash. But PAID for.! Just NEVER reply with a 'YES' answere.

EXCELLENT Info Dolly !
Sorry that happened to ya, tho..
Stay strong girlfriend..
God Bless !

I get calls and angry VM messages all the time from people because my phone number is being used in these robocaller scams without my knowledge. Odds are the people are not lying to you when they tell you that they didn't call you. Most scammers don't usually answer.

I get voice messages on my computer saying A have spyware virus FOR a fee they will remove and protect me Is this real ?

Scammers take advantage of your reasonable concerns about viruses and other threats. They know that computer users have heard time and again that it’s important to install security software. But the purpose behind their elaborate scheme isn’t to protect your computer; it’s to make money. For more information, see the FTC article, Tech Support Scams.

No thats NOT REAL. They tried that with my daughter at Mc Donalds, When she was on my computer. They scared the mess out of her. She was ready to pay them $100. But she didnt have that much.So she closed the laptop and came home. We never heard another word from them. They told her that my computer was gonna Shut down forever...but they could stop it. HA!!!

Right! Phone companies need to take some responsibility for protecting their customers!

I suggest that you have unrecognized calls/numbers to go to your voicemail. Scammers with masked numbers generally would not leave a voicemail message. Also, utilize your block call feature which is a standard feature for mobile and VOIP phones. I have had much success with the scammer-deterrent methods mentioned.

I have been getting all of the calls mention but noe people are calling my phone asking me to stop calling them to sell stuff and I never called them they give me my phone number because they took it off their phone. all agencies know about the fraud and I would like to know what are they doing to stop it and how much more will my phone bill be when they do step in.

If you don't recognize the number, let it go to VM. If they don't leave a message then block it immediately.

It isn't in the carriers scope of abilities to disallow the caller i.d. to be able to bypass the evil these programmers and app developers partake in. Sorry. Don't use your valuable mental abilities on the wrong target. Ya know what I'm saying? It's usually foreign terrorists trying to get out dollars to fund their cause. I do respect your view. It makes sense. Yet they aren't to blame. Usually they come from online gaming or entering for a newsletter, sweepstakes,any time you give your info to an atypical entity. I figured out where mine were coming from. TapJoy. Online gaming way to get credits to play. Try to remember anything. Track those jerks down, if you have time.
Good luck. We're all in this together. Be vigilant. We are now closer to The Machine than ever.
Let's get em. Bless

I was looking through the Internet about the guys from I don't know where who call and say your computer has a virus, did not fall for that one! My voice mail doesn't have my name or number, but it has one crazy recording. I let the ring go to voice mail wait and if no message I immediately block them, my block numbers are crazy long! I actually fought with the IRS 30 years ago she said she was from the IRS and needed information and I would not give it to her. I went to the IRS her name in hand and talked to her! Don't know who it is block them on your phone! Stay safe!!

I have received numerous calls with the caller stating that they are calling from the US Government The first thing I do is ask them which gov't agency and the department, they don't know what to say so hang up. AAnother thing to watch for is the area code. If it is an official call, it would be from the agency Headquarters so it will have a Washington D.C.area code which is 202. this is not a guarantee that it is official but then you ask what agency and department even the address in D.C.. I found, if they claim to be IRS, you should write down the phone number calling and then call the IRS hot line at 800-366-4484. A call to your local Congressman/Senator's office can be of help also.


Good morning,

Today 5/4/2017, I received a phone call from what I believe is a Scam. I did not make any payment but here is the situation and I hope that it will help put information out to help others

This is the phone number that called: (912)-200-9896.

The issue was they demanded that I pay over $3,000.00 and that if I didn’t put a payment down of $300.00 while I was on the phone, they would take me to court and I would have to pay $35,000.00 and also that a local sheiff would show up to my house and serve me papers.

I told them that I did not have that money so I could not make the payment. PLEASE PLACE THIS PHONE NUMBER EVERYWHERE,

I called the number back and I confronted them that I knew that it was a SCAM and the gentlemen on the phone admitted it was and begged me not to call the IRS or reach out to them.

I wanted to post this number so you would know. I am very upset and would like to bring this scammer to light.

details Phone Number Details Phone Number: 9122009896 Owner Name: On File - Click Here Most Current Address: On File - Click Here Area: BAXLEY, GA (Georgia) Phone Company: REIGNMAKER TELECOM INC - GA Switch: VDALGABBDS0

Tell them if they have a warrant for your arrest, to come get you. Tell them you will be waiting outside your home on the curb...Thieving SOB's

NEVER call a number back! Some scammers can seize your phone line if you initiate the call and then sell the "conference call" all over the world and YOU will get the bill. You will not be able to hang up from the call you made. Oversea rates are incrediable. Be always doubtful.

Thank you for the info about conference calls being able to be hijacked. I did not know this and sharing your knowledge helps the rest of us avoid being taken advantage of. I hope all scammers have stolen from them everything that they've taken from others.

Yes... you can always disconnect. You ensure the disconnect by removing the phone's battery (assuming it is a cell phone) or by disconnecting the phone from the landline for at least 1 minute.
No different than a power-cycling of your computer, since a cell phone is nothing but a multi-function computer in miniature.

I got a call yesterday. Dumb me because it said pharmacy. I neglected to look at the caller id #. It was a different city from me. I just said hello and no one answered. I hope I haven't gotten myself into trouble. I'm usually quite aware of this kind of thing. Nothing to do with charity because I don't answer my phone because of these and other scams on landline phones.

Have been getting solicitation calls (on my cell phone) of every sort for several years, at least two a day. May change my phone number and see if that will help. I've not answered important calls because I do not want to speak with the idiots who are soliciting. YES, I'm on the national do not call list many times over and that is not assisting in any way.

I often get calls asking to donate to the "Fraternal Order of Police" - sounds great, is that some sort of charity that helps the police out? No, it's effectively the union for the police. Do unions need our money - if they even get much of it.

I received the same call. I told them that I had worked for Law Enforcement (I did) and that we NEVER solicited over the telephone. I asked if they were Law Enforcement and they said NO. I asked just how much they receive for doing the calling for Law Enforcement. They told me seventy percent. I told them it should be reversed, and to take me off the calling list.

I think most of these calls are scams.

I got rid of most of these calls years ago by telling the caller I hated the police (the truth). ha ha ha.

I spent years in direct sales taking jobs (and being trained in) various parts of the country. Last time I got this call I recognized the structure of the sales pitch as one I learned out west. Here's what I picked up:
- rep disclosed the donation was not tax deductible, which means he's working for a for-profit 3rd party business
- after rephrasing the question "what company do you work for" a few times to get a solid answer, rep finally answered with a name he announced in the first sentence of his pitch,
- his opening line was "I'm calling you today under 'Civic Authority' to ask for a donation...",

which as it turns out isn't the legal license to solicit like it sounds, but rather the name of his marketing company, distinguishing them from their client. A difference that's easy to see when read, but really, really hard to hear.

Slick, eh?

Its so bad we get calls from 8 am thru to 9:00 pm. We are planning to have our landlines removed because if the hassel. Of course, then they call our cell numbers too. All numbers for everyone in the household are registered with the do not call registry and have been for years. W cells we can easily block a number instantly with each call.

You need to file a complain and report all the calls.How to do this is on do not call registry web page for landline and cell.

I was told by a RUDE woman that I had to re register every year on the do not call list. All of my families numbers are registered but I get at least 5 calls a day! I have filled out the complaint forms on line, it doesn't do any good. What is the point of the registry if the law is not enforced. If the government wants to balance the budget the they ought to collect the fines from these offenders!

Registrations on the National Do Not Call Registry DO NOT EXPIRE. If you have previously registered your number, there is no need to register again. Go to to register.

The"Do Not Call" list expires every three months, and does have to be renewed/re-registered every three months. This is what I have learned. Hope this helps someone.

Registrations on the National Do Not Call Registry DO NOT EXPIRE. If you have previously registered your number, there is no need to register again. Register at


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