Who's really calling?

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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


Actually, that number you saw might really be out of service. They are probably disguising the number they're actually using, and faking the caller ID number.

You were called by Rachel from Card Services; one of the most prolific "Whack-a-Mole" scam companies out there that the FTC keeps chasing.

We get so many scam calls nowadays that I no longer answer the phone, letting the answering machine pick up first. Our land line has become such a robocall magnet that we're considering cancelling it entirely, as others have been forced to do. If the phone companies don't stop robocalls, they'll continue to lose customers.

I'm with you. I don't answer any unknown phone numbers either. And if it was something legitimate, they would leave a message on the answering machine. I am also on the "Do Not Call" registry, but apparently it is useless. And I've updated it many times.

Getting rid of your landline, and using cell only, won't eliminate the scam/spam callers. They'll simply call on your cell, not targeting you specifically, but targeting any number their computer calls.

Years ago, when I had a Verizon landline, I paid extra to block all calls. Anyone I wanted to hear from had to dial an access code to get through. I think all phone companies should offer that feature free of charge since they're not eliminating the callers.

It's beyond annoying people can't answer their phones due to unwanted callers.

Had a recent spam message left on my cell telling me I had something wrong with my computer. I was supposed to call them back. Hah! "Delete"

Annoying, too, that I have to verify I'm not a robot before I can post this.

Now, I'm getting text messages in addition to calls.

Anytime I get a text from someone I don't know that is obviously a scam, I text back the following msg: "Don't know who you are but STOP texting me or I will turn this over to my attorney & the FCC to file charges against you for harassment! This number is on the National Do Not Call registry!" Have never received another text from any of them!

It is getting impossible to figure out who is calling, I usually go on google and find out if other people are getting the same phone call on their landline.

What is recaptcha ? How did you get my Password that nobody has except The website it is for. I think if you really do your job We would not have these problems But then you wouldn't have a job! Your as big a problem as they are. Your taking my tax money. Read the comments !

A new twist A person is saying that I am calling them from my phone #s I have 3 and my #s are showing up as If I called them to sell them something. No, I don't

Your phone number was hijacked. I have gotten scam calls on my landline FROM MY OWN NUMBER! Different name, same name. I got the IRS scam call once & reported the number, then looked it up and it's some guy in Eugene, Oregon. He could be completely innocent. Let your phone company know your number is hijacked to show on CallerID. At least it can get you out of some trouble. A woman in Ohio was confronted in her own yard over it and they threatened to sue her. She proved her innocence. Awful that these scumbags can do this and get away with it, while the law abiding catch all the crap over it.

I've had some luck using NoMoRobo on my iphone. It's not a perfect program, some calls get through, but it's reduced them. They also have a reporting mechanism so you can tell them numbers that do get through and they will add them to their database of blocked calls. I'm not affiliated with them in any way, but thought someone here might be interested in this info.

I have comcast and I get free NoMoRobo calls service,if they call your phone will ring once then automatically will be picked up by NoMoRobo calls , I love this service now I don't answer anymore, even if you have to pay for this service it is worth it, robocalls are getting less anoying for me

DO NOT ANSWER THIS NUMBER! 991-977-6543 It is not a real number and the caller wants to repair your computer.

Thank you for posting this. The phone company I work for actually had a "trouble ticket" for calls from this number, complaining that they could not reach their destinations. Ironically, from your post I recognized the number, having resolved their trouble ticket today. Now, I have blocked all traffic from this number through our system and notified the customer that we are closing their account due to this activity. Please keep posting these scam phone numbers, some folks who work in the telco industry actually read these.

Since, I believe the scammers and other illegitimate phone callers and emailers is a paid for business knowingly operating as such, there should be some way that those businesses could be tracked by the FTC without relying on Joe public to do it. There are many of us that do report the problems though I am sure not enough.

Is there a National DO NOT Call List?

I think the National Do Not Call registry is more likely providing these people with our numbers. The program only works with legitimate companies.

Yes. On this site under "Consumer."

How to get on the "Do Not Call" List Add the number to National Do Not Call registry. To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (voice) or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY). Some states have statewide do-not-call lists for residents (e.g. Texas No Call list). Check with a state's public service commission or consumer protection office to see if a list is available. Contact information can be found through National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. There are some exceptions to the do-not-call rule. For example, calls from political organizations, not-for-profit organizations and organizations conducting surveys are still allowed.

It probably won't last long, but I've found a way to stop a lot of these phony calls for now. When a call arrives, if it isn't shown as one I recognize, I let the first ring complete so the Caller ID can come through. Then I pick up the phone quickly and just as quickly press End Call. It has worked for us for about a week now; the callbacks never come back for whatever reason. If I let a call go to the answering machine there will be more calls with the same phony ID for each one. But with the hangup after the first ring, it works. No idea why.

The reason it is working is because the number gets recorded as nonfunctional with an immediate hangup. If the call goes to voicemail, it is recorded as someone having answered and they know the number works; therefore, it spawns more calls.

Please read these comments they say it all

I have read it and with me the so-called Mr. "Kelvin Frank Gotze" again reported and asked me whether I pay his hotel bill.in which I said I can not because I have no money, he said to me the e then The phone which I gave him to sell and tiket home fly to America. In the which I asked again to see him because the other was only pre-recorded foreign video, he agreed but it was nothing to see he or the group which I heard in the background Have the kammera concealed so it was all black.   I am curious if he will report again? He is supposed to be a doctor. PS. 2 years ago I have lost money money to the fraudsters what have been as generals or doctors.

I look at the caller ID. If it is a number I know--then I pick up. If not--I ignore it. If it is something important- and someone I know they can leave a message.

What the FTC and FCC need to do is join together and make all corporations register their Corporate names and any other person who has a phone number and insist that the phone companies log these in and lock them [anyone wanting to change has to do this in writing].
Anyone trying to scam/spam/phish are immediately investigated as a record would be sent to the FTC/FCC from the original phone number automatically- can be done, how do you think the NSA can do it?

I get 2 or 3 calls a day from "Joe" telling me I am on a recorded line and ask me if I can you hear him. I just hang up, but normally don't answer the cell phone if I don't reckonize the number, but that is not fair to us,paying to have a cell phone and getting all this prank calls. I am on the do not call list.

RoboCallers, Scammers, salespeople calling any number from anywhere they get the numbers are making it so that I don't answer the phone if there is no caller ID and that I recognize the caller. But sometimes, it gets to the point where I'm actually "afraid" to even lift the receiver for fear that I might be tagged as a live target! What has come to our lives that we fear even using our telephones? So sad!

To the people who have caller I D. I have it as well. But I also screen my call's by way of a answering machine. Phone companies will charge for that service. But I bought a answering device. If they don't want to leave a message. That is their problem.

This kind of thing also targets e-mails now. I've been getting emails informing me that I need to call this Bank and I don't even have any accounts there or I never heard of such a bank. There's got to be something that can be done to get these scambags out of circulation. Lazy crooks who prey on others. They need to be in jail.

Thank you

Why can't the FTC and FCC put pressure on the phone companies to stop bogus caller ID numbers and names? With today's technology there has to be a way to do this. The only phone calls on my landline are now scammers. The only reason I have kept my landline is because of faxing.

Most r eligal fronts.boiler room scams, using grade a fronts.no agency will call u, if so only by mail. If that.

The FTC should FIX the caller ID system, which is totally broken. Non-USA companies rotate caller ID on the fly, and scam everyone. What the heck is wrong with the Caller ID system? What knucklehead set it up? Fix Caller id!

We do not answer the phone… We use an answering machine and then we can hear who's calling and everyone who knows us knows they need to stay on the line and talk until we get over to pick up the phone . We get 10 or 12 calls every day all Robo or solicitors. The older you get the more you'll get

Its terrible that when a phone call comes in we can't just pick up the phone and say Hi. B/c of all these scrams you have to know the number on your caller ID before you do.

I kept getting calls to get some kind of free treatment from a live person. Kept calling despite my saying I wasn't interested. So finally, I said fine, what is it? Turned out to be a local chiropractor so I made an appointment. Then I researched and a lot of people had complained that they were billed a lot for this free treatment. I called the DA/Consumer Affairs and they took my appointment, sued the promo people, chirp cooperated. It was two years later and DA sent me a letter saying this company got a permanent injunction and a fine of $12,500! It's easy to do.

I received a call from a investment debt resolution company, which indicate they could help payoff a loan for my company. Several names were provided, my name and a bogus name. They said I was on a list. Checking with the State no loan was provided. I receive calls to lend money for my company, which I refuse, and ask to be removed from their list!

Here is what I do. If I don't know the number I don't answer the phone. I have the answering machine turned off. The reason is if thy get a phone number to answer with a answering machine they know they have a real active number and you are giving them that Information. If you are expecting an important call and have to leave it turned on then turn on your answering machine for that limited time only. By the why get rid of the voice mail. It is costing you money and giving the bad guys information that they have a live number.

Several years back the Federal Government created a " Do not call registry" designed to prevent these types of calls. I believe it was through the FCC. I registeted all of my phones, both home and cell. It quickly became obvious that this was another waste of taxpayer dollars. It is probably still up and running and supporting quite a few resources.

To FTC: Allowing these scammers to change their Caller ID which enables them to get away with these things is really, really, stupid. It's about time that you stop them from doing this!

We get scam donation &fix computer calls daily:( I wish SOMEONE could stop them from calling.

If you report a phone number and others also report that same number why can't ftc remove the phone service from that number ? Would be nice if you could look on the ftc site and see if a number that has been calling you was reported and you could know that that number is a spam phone caller

Since the caller ID can be spoofed, this is not effective. I got a call once from someone saying that they had gotten a call from an Indian gentleman on my phone line, which is absolutely impossible. Caller IDs can be made to look as if they are coming from the IRS, Washington D.C., or Timbuktu; that is another part of the problem and a part of the reason that some of these guys are so hard to track down.

NOMOROBO has blocked many calls. If the landline phone rings just once it means that a robo call has been blocked. Some are getting through. The caller ID makes it look like a local number. Unfortunately it is blocking robo alert/emergency calls. I'll have to work on that.

I received 28 calls from a John Davis calling from 732-398-5939. Some of the calls were minutes apart. I was trying to pay bills by phone and have call waiting and he would be there waiting. The beginning of this is I was supposed to go to Walmart and send a money gram to someone in Mississippi then send John Davis the tracking number. He kept insisting it was not a scam. I was supposed to have won 8.5 million dollars and a Mercedes and he was saving it in Orlando, FL. I had just called FTC regarding a Facebook message and then he called. I obtained all the info I could then immediately called FTC again. This John Davis made 28 calls from Apr 27 to May 3. I reported every one but the last one. He was calling from New Braunswick, NJ. He insisted it was not a bogus call but I did not believe him and then he harassed me with all those calls. I wish that after reporting all those calls that FTC does something about this. This is way too much. He even wanted to know my age which is 80 and if I lived alone. I have two grown sons living with me and told him so. I hope FTC does something about this.

I just received a call from this number. It showed as Private and i thought it was a family memeber which is the only reason i answered. He said his name was John Brady...buthe gave me this same contact numbet. He Said i had won $950K cert check from wells fargo and a 32in plasma flat screen tv from the "2nd chance lottery" that would be delivered by his guys currently in memphis (im in nashville) so i had time to go to bank a get the taxes that needed to be paid before they delivered. Said i didnt the money. He said i could post date a check for tomorrow. Said i dont have any checks. He then insisted that i get a payday loan because this is not scam. Asked why the lottery commission is asking for the taxes up front because they arent supposed to. He just kept insisting that it wasnt a scam and that the taxes were due before i could take delivery.....finally just to get him off the phone i told him id get the payday loan but that the location was about 20 miles away so it would take some time. He called me back 3 times in 5 minutes to make sure i was getting the loan. I was finally able to block the number and i will be keeping a very close eye on my bank account even though i never gave him the info because you never know....

The scammers providing fake IRS ID.
Some issues can be resolved if IRS provides a way to verify the imposter's ID on IRS software.
All it needs answer Y or N preferably with N with red color.

I bought a call blocker machine from amazon and have 134 numbers blocked. This is a huge problem for me and all my friends.

FTC is doing a great job of helping us with these terrible scams that especially prey on the elderly.
I've added a call blocking App to all phones and it blocks a lot of the scammers. The amount of scam calls is increasing. With the blocking App, I don't have to answer the calls. I've also discovered that most of the scam calls use spoofed phone numbers to make the number look local. Many times it also shows a name which is all part of the spoofing.
I also add the scam numbers to the Do Not Call Registry.


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