You are here

That’s not your neighbor calling

Share this page

When your phone rings and it looks like a local call, you may be more likely to answer. Scammers count on this and can easily fake caller ID numbers. They even can match the first six digits of your own number, which is called “neighbor spoofing.” The urge to answer can be tough to resist, since you might worry it’s a neighbor who needs help, or the school nurse.

If you see a number like this on your caller ID, remember that it could be faked. Letting it go to voicemail is one option. If you do pick up and don’t recognize the caller — hang up.

But what else can you do? Call blocking services that block or flag unwanted calls can help. These services include mobile apps, features built into your mobile phone, cloud-based services, call-blocking devices, or services provided by your phone service carrier. Some are free and others cost money.

You also can register your number with the Do Not Call Registry. The Do Not Call Registry is designed to stop sales calls from legitimate companies, so it won’t stop calls from scammers. But it could make it easier for you to spot scam calls. If a company is ignoring the Registry, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.

You also can help by reporting unwanted calls. We take the phone numbers you report and release them to the public each business day. This helps phone carriers and other partners that are working on call blocking solutions. Your reports also help law enforcement identify the people behind illegal calls.


Get a recording device, call a fax number and record the sound it makes. When you answer an unknown number, play the fax sound. If it is a robot call it will hang up and automatically remove your number from the data base. These people exchange data bases and soon your number will be gone from all databases.

Tried that on our unlisted, unpublished former Home number which was turned into the phone from hell. So tried the fax machine routine. It did not work. They just kept calling. Finally in desperation we pulled the plug on the phone so it does not ring anymore, doesn’t go to leave a message, just a non functioning phone anymore. We only use for out going calls and faxes. Interestly they now call my wife and my cell phone. We just don’t answer calls we do not know. Verizon caller ID is not worth a wooden nickel. Had free 10 day trial and not one number that called showed a name and number. Worthless and they want $3 a month not to get any info on who is called my. Too much money being made to stop spoofers from calling to steal from you.

Trident Surveys/ marketing etc., keep calling a telephone number that we had to receive from our internet company to keep down our already costly fees. We have never used this number; we never will ( unless as a fax number dedicated for this use only ( but we don’t need a fax number anymore, so we won’t ever have the ability nor the desire for the landline number ). We use only our mobile devices for our phones, and that is never going to change; it is easier to not answer the Unknown caller, regardless of the number that is in our area. No ID- no answer. Like this article indicates, a voice mail might be answered by us if we want to have contact with the caller. Plus it is easier to block numbers on the mobile than a landline that has a do not call status, which is of no use when disreputable companies call regardless.

Good to see this article for those who are being disturbed by disingenuous, scammers especially!

Now these scam/telemarketer companies are listing a name of the actual person along with a phone number that is similar to your own when they call on a cell phone. I have received 3 calls within the last 4 hours from the same telemarketer using three different numbers and three different names.

On our mobile phones e receive many calls from various numbers starting with 215-771- ..... Our mobile phones are both 215-771 #'s.

Spam calls are major annoyance. It seems to me that a very simple solution would be to have a simple screening app on a mobile phone - or maybe carriers could do this. It would work like this:

1. Consumer creates a whitelist of all allowed callers (usually the contact list on a mobile phone).
2. If a call is received from a whitelist caller, it is put through.
3. Any other caller would be asked a relatively complex question that they must answer correctly (this could be a Turing-type question to test for robots, or a question (or series of questions) that will help deter human marketers. An incorrect answer will cause the phone not to ring and go to voice mail (or reject the call).

With enough varied questions, I think we could eliminate virtually all unwanted phone ringing. For people who are legitimate callers, they will leave a voice mail.

I have reported many numbers to the Do Not Call Registry several times but they continue to call. Very frustrating

patk, Do Not Call Registry is designed to work with legitimate companies only. So, you and I will continue to receive calls from scammers.

The Do Not Call List is designed for you to report your number to be removed from calling lists. It is not designed for you to report numbers that you don’t want calls from. That doesn’t help anything.

Actually, we do want people to report unwanted calls. When you report unwanted calls to the FTC, we take the phone numbers people complain about and release them each business day. This helps telecommunications carriers and other industry partners that are working on call blocking solutions.

But this doesn't work when we ae getting calls that are spamming a local phone number illeglally.

Actually it does work for spoofed numbers too. This FTC article about our release of consumer Do Not Call complaint data explains that telecommunications companies use the call detail information to help identify which calls should be blocked or flagged. Even if a scammer fakes caller ID information — so the number you see isn’t the scammer’s real number — reporting it can make a difference. Call blocking technologies also can help prevent this kind of spoofed traffic.

Hi Bridget,

Is there anything that I can do as the owner of a phone number they are spoofing? I receive multiple calls every day from people saying that I called them, but I didn’t. I have had this phone number for 10+ years and am very reluctant to have it changed, but having it associated with something fraudulent concerns me, as do the many calls from people thinking I called them. Is there any way to block my phone number so they can’t use it?

I receive these pretty much on a daily basis. I never answer. Super annoying.

So, my friends in Government, why don't you fix this?

I get 3 to 4 calls a day. I block the numbers from calling again but in 3 or 4 days they start again. I never answer

One finds it hard to appreciate what the FTC is completely helpless in stopping this problem. We are retired and receive at least 5 of these scam calls each day. DO SOMETHING for pete's sake!!!!!!!!!

If you new something about the technology you would understand how costly what you ask would be. Just what we need another gazillion dollar government program. When you can figure out how to do this without reaching into my wallet, have at it. In the mean time, deal with it. 5 calls a day is nothing, live with it like the rest of us or turn you phone off for pete's sake!!!!!!!

I would pay it to catch some of these sick heads.

I thought the unwanted calls would go away when I dropped my home phone service, but they haven't. I get neighbor spoofing calls on my cell phone all the time. I got the APP True Caller and it helps.

Regarding neighbor spoofing, I got a call that caller ID said was from my own cell phone.

Question: Are the criminals spoofing active phone numbers? Are they calling my number, when I don't answer turn around and call someone using my number? I've had voice messages from people I don't know saying they were returning my call. I've tried returning a call to a unknown number and get someone who says they never called.

Yes and no. Scammers spoof active numbers, but probably not because they called you and you didn't answer. They simply type a number into their software, often using the same area code of the geographic area they are targeting. The number they put in their software is most likely random. They don't care if it might be a working number or not, so if yours got used, it most likely was not chosen intentionally. All the scammers really care about is that some number other than their own showa up on your caller ID. And they know that if it looks like a local number, you are more likely to answer the call.

Been getting calls from "Senior Care"...they disconnect as soon as I tell them I am on the DO NOT CALL REGISTRY and that I am reporting them to the FTC. When I call the number back, I get City Elementary in Dalton, GA. I have reported these calls to the Dalton Police Dept. and I have spoken to the City Elementary Administrator in Dalton.

I have Do Not Call. I get numerous calls from supposedly local numbers every day. Some appear to be from the library, a local resident, a business. How does it help to report these numbers and get those entities in trouble? I have made the decision to let ALL calls go to voice mail, if it's a real call, I pick up, if it's a dishonest telemarketer, they won't leave a message. I absolutely do not want to let the jerks know they have reached a valid number so they can keep calling over and over.

Reporting the numbers used to call you does not get the true owner of the number in trouble; in the majority of cases they had nothing to do with any of it. The scammers are spoofing (using) the numbers randomly or by some other means, such as a list they acquired somehow. Any number can be used to make it look to your caller ID that it is the number being called from, even if they are calling from the other side of the planet. It is likely that your own number has been used at some point as the number “making” scam calls. Also, when your machine answers a call, the robocall systems do not consider your number as invalid, just unanswered at that time. It is usually then just moved to the bottom of the list to be re-called later, actually increasing the number of calls you get. The best way to handle them is to actually answering them, do not let the caller speak to you or start their canned speech (you will have to aggressively interrupt them), but immediately ask the name and contact information of the company they allege to represent, though you will rarely get it, and inform them you are registered on the Do Not Call List, request your number be immediately removed from their list, and inform them any subsequent calls will be reported to the FTC. Don’t be surprised if they ask you for your number. If they do, that means the person is probably actually removing it from their list. This is because the people “calling” you, especially if you hear the tale-tell sign of a few seconds delay before they start speaking, are working in a call center and don’t have access to the number that the computer dialed for them. In these cases, usually they DO have the ability to remove your number from the list that their company is using, but only if you give them your number to input the stop on. From experience, I have found if I get very upset at the person “calling”, they are much less likely to do the “stop calling” input on your behalf, and instead just hit the button for you to be retried again. Unfortunately, it is rarely the actual person you speak to that would handsomely profit from whatever they are trying to sell you or whatever. They are usually just some low paid, minimum wage worker in a foreign country. Whoever is employing them is the evil mastermind behind these annoying calls, so treating them badly will not make them want to “help” you. It’s a complete pain, but the only way to reduce these calls, one company at a time. Another thing to try is to contact your phone carrier, especially for cell phones, and explain the problem. There is sometimes a way for them to reduce these calls, at least for a while, with an input that they do.

The only real and workable solution to this problem would be to outlaw the use of applications that allow users to “spoof” numbers on caller ID, making it REQUIRED that all calls show valid origin phone numbers and business names. There would still be those that got around this and used illegal software to circumvent such a law, but it would make it a lot harder and definitely reduce the incidence of it for the average phone customer.

There is already a law that makes spoofing illegal when used for fraudulent purposes. Obviously, the law is ineffective.

Also, while I have, a few times, been able to get legitimate companies to take me off their call list, by asking politely, and mentioning the DNC list, I have never been able to get scammers to do so using that method. Scammers have no fear of being reported when they do not use their own number. Or, if they are using robocalls with a call back number, you are probably calling back to a foreign country so, again, no fear of repercussions. The only times I have been able to get scammers to quit calling me repeatedly, is by putting aside my inclination to be polite, and being as rude as possible. One time, my adult son took the phone out of my hand and told the guy off. It was the last time he called me. I do not believe these are low level, minimum wage workers. They probably are working for someone else, but they are trained scammers and get paid based on their success rate in conning people to give up their money. They do not deserve politeness.

BTW, I have never been able to get "Rachel" from Cardholder Services to quit calling me. Or, the car warranty people. Have you? Their employees might actually be low level minimum wage workers, but no method seems to work with them to get you off their list.

How about when I get an email purporting to be from my daughter? I have learned to hover my cursor over her name to check the email address. If it isn't recognizable, I delete the message.

Some scammers use anonymous caller ID. So I don’t know whether to answer or not.

I get these calls quite often but I don't answer! I don't know these people who are calling and they never leave a message! I also get a lot of charity calls too!

STOP SCAMMERS! On your phone message say: State your name then, "I am monitoring my calls, state your business and leave your name and number."

The scammers will hang up in second. They won't leave their name and phone number.

Our business gets robo calls all day long using "Neighbor Spoofing" and other spoofed caller id numbers. This is very disrupting and costly to our business. We would welcome the FTC to work directly with us to set up a sting operation and get to the source of these calls. The scammers want my credit card info. We could set up a credit card liked to a special account and trace the transaction back to the scammer. Once that connection is made and the scammer prosecuted and jailed it may send a message to the others.

How 'bout making it harder to fake caller ID?

I stupidly answered "yes" on a robo call about home security... please tell me what to do now? Please tell me if I signed up for anything or have agreed to something I do not want? I totally know better, and have advised my kids and others against saying "yes" but they got me!! HELP!

I sometimes get 10 to 15 of these in a 2 day period. I quickly realized these were not local calls, so stopped answering.

I have” no more robot calls “ thru Spectrum. This does cut down on a number of DAILY calls. Sometimes as late as 9:00 PM! One day my phone rang and I thought that’s fimiliar and I answered it! Spamcall. I went back and looked at the number. It was MY home phone number. Now if I don’t recognize a number I will not answer my phone. Sad..

We have to answer those calls to confirm medical appointments and others who do not advise us of the numbers they may use for calls that are important to us. Our Call Blocker is full and deletes the oldest ones.

I'm getting spoof calls like this from SiriusXM. Anyone else?

We get almost a dozen calls a day from faked caller IDs. It's time to take a more proactive approach, and LEGALLY REQUIRE phone companies to authenticate callers. The problem won't be fixed until it's the corporations' problem instead of the consumers' problem.

I am in total agreement of this statement. Let's see ATT, Verizon, Sprint and ALL phone companies hold this responsibility. I'm fed up!! Consumers are willing to help find a solution, but I have yet to hear that one single company has tried to do anything.

Exactly! The phone companies need to stop this nuisance caalling! I'm not making any money having a phone line but the phone company is as well as the scammertrying tho make money off of us. And we are supposed to jump through hoops!! BS!

I get this everyday almost and it’s two or three numbers ata time! I always block them since not one single number looks legitimate. Is there a way to report multiple numbers? I’ve written them all down.

Reporting these scam numbers that are being used by spammers would be a huge headache for the “real person” the number actually belongs to. We get several every day and have looked the numbers up. Most if not all of the spoofed numbers are legitimate business, home or cell phone numbers. I’ve even gotten them that they appear to be my own number. Not sure that the link in this article to report these numbers is the solution in the case of them appearing to be a local caller.

This is a terrific program! Always relevant, easy to read asset for consumers. Thanks!

Why is spoofing caller ID allowed in the first place? What use is it, if we can't trust it? I don't ever even hear any discussions of why this can't be stopped. If it can't be completely fixed, it should at least be possible to have a caller-reputation system similar to what exists in email with sites like spamhaus.

The FTC collects the phone numbers that people complain about and release them each business day. This helps telecommunications carriers and other industry partners that are working on call blocking solutions. The call blocking tools rely on blacklists, which are databases of phone numbers that have been reported as the source of illegal calls.

View the open government sets of information.

This is the list that phone carriers use when you request they block “robocalls” from your phone. You will still get robocalls from legitimate sources such as doctor office appointment reminders or calls from your credit card or bank fraud alert line. At this point in time, it is the best solution available to us until regulations or laws change in favor of consumers, instead of companies, for once,

Doctors and other medical providers SHOULD NOT USE robocalls or no caller ID......Period. If there is no caller ID or an Unknown Name displaying I don't answer.

i agree there is no legitimate reason to allow
spoofed calls period. along with it being harassing it could cause trouble for the legitimate holder of that number. I just got 4 spoofed calls in my same small town all in about 90 minutes

I received a call from someone who was being scammed by MY number. I was able to convince the distraught woman that the calls weren't actually coming from me. The reason I'm providing this information to you, is that scammers use LEGITIMATE (and innocent party) NUMBERS. If this poor woman had repirted it to you, then YOU would be reporting/releasing MY number to the public as a scammer number. How is this an appropriate action concerning MY number????


Leave a Comment