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That’s not your neighbor calling

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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.


My wife and I both get these calls and we are on the do not call list, we block the number but they just change the number and call again. Its really annoying and we wish we could stop it.

I'm contemplating an air horn if it's a person on the otherend.

The Do Not Call Registry is a waste of time and resources, since robocallers ignore it. Our Lawmakers are in collusion with them.

I've received two spoofed calls that appeared to be from my local prefix. I've called the numbers back to let the legitimate owners know that someone is spoofing their number, and suggest they contact Centurylink to notify them, and see if Centurylink can and will do anything about it. Not likely, I suppose. I get multiple calls each day from other spoofed numbers, or 'Out of Area' - there's got to be a way to stop this.

There are only two things that you can do with these calls. Use your phone provider's call blocking system and then a Nomorobo service to battle the rest. These both are working for me now. It is sad that these spam callers have figured out ways of getting beyond the blockings. It may take time, but I believe the spam garbage will eventually die down and go away for good when they realize they are getting nowhere.

revieved a call from "Alice" saying that I qualified for lower rates on my Visa card (uhm...I don't have a Visa card). I hung up as soon as "Alice" told me to press 1 and if I did not respond, my card would be terminated - these crooks are getting nastier!

do not call list is a joke - plus I cant block every local number - I have kids and coaches and teachers that may be calling me that I cannot be blocking - how about catching and stopping these guys, now there is a solution.

I agree. It could create jobs, too, such as law enforcement, computer and phone technology and support staff

I get these calls every day. I do not answer any of them..

Way to go, Ron A. Congratulations for figuring this out instead of asking the Government to spend more money needlessly. I mostly do the same but sometime I like to screw with them, waisting their time. I love the siding sales calls. After I let them go on about their product and ask them to answer a few stupid questions, I will say "by the way how do you attach the siding to the brick covering on my house".

P.S. We don't need the FTC to become another NSA.

I block every call I do not recognize, if they do not leave a call back # they do not know me! If the same bogus # calls back and it is blocked it rings once; several do not call again. My original # is unlisted.

If you have a business, you MUST answer the phone. You must put up with the never-ending unsolicited calls.

This telephone abuse must stop. Enormous fines, mandatory community service, I don't really care, so long as the punishment is HUGE. I want this to be priority number one.

Most of these calls originate in foreign countries, not subject to U.S. law or punishment. The only real solution is technological: forcing phone companies to require all callers to show ACTUAL, TRUE origin phone numbers and company names, as I explain and suggestion above, and holding the phone companies accountable if they allow applications to be used to subvert this. They can easily tell calls originating internationally. Even better, require all calls to show origin numbers that can receive a call back on, not dummy numbers. This would require the government to pass a law that benefits CONSUMERS, NOT COMPANIES, for once.

We never answer the phone. Every call goes to voice mail. We are on the do not call list, it’s a joke. We get so many calls everyday. I started reporting them. That’s such a pain, it’s easier to just let it ring.

The solution to spam calls is the same solution to junk emails. If all outgoing calls cost the caller...say, five cents...and all outgoing emails cost the sender a penny, I believe that would eliminate the problem overnight. I'm quite willing to pay both of those amounts.

My answering machine is full daily with these calls. Some times it is only 1 call. Nothing on the message but fills my machine blocking any real messages i may be waiting on.

i got a call from 5086440040 they told me i took a pay day loan and im in a lot of trouble is this a scame or not and should i pay

well now I know the Do Not Call Registry is useless! these scammers and places like Marriott Hotels that call and the people who call me by my first name and act like they're friends are still able to get through!

I get these calls all day long and I am totally feed up! If you call the number back a recording tells you it is no longer in service. Makes me think phone companies see them the numbers....who knows!

I never answer unless I see the name on my landline phone or see the name on my T.V. screen. If I don't reconize.. then I ignore the call or set my ans.machine on...calls will not be answered..

The "Do not call registry " is a joke!!

You are absolutely right! Congress and the FTC have no desire to address this problem. It's transforming telecommunications (in a bad way) and they're fiddling while Rome burns.

Every legitimate business should be mandated and regulated to use Caller exceptions. While this may not guarantee spoofing it will help. On DO NOT CALL list & still get UNKNOWN NAME callers, can't block the out-of-state number with AT&T and I am not answering from an out-of-state number I am not familiar with. Why not have a function that the customer to input only those numbers they will accept calls from. We should all be concerned with Identify Theft with these kinds of numbers.

I got a call from my husband's cellphone and it showed his caller ID so I answered the call but it was one of those robocalls that I have already blocked. I called my cellphone carrier and they just wrote a report and gave me a case number. It is so very frustrating.

I think the carriers are selling phone numbers and also the DMV and other govt. agencies to make a certain amount of money from each name they provide.These govt. agencies should get big fines.

For 3 months I’ve gotten calls daily or several times a week on my Spectrum lan line from Lewisburg, OH, each call has 937 583 and then every call has the last 4 numbers changed so in reporting these numbers it’s impossible for my phone provider to block. I asked Spectrum if they could do a block of any call from Leeisburg as it is a small town but Spectrum says they couldn’t do that! Why not? I have been harassed with calls all times sometimes waking me up in the morning. I too am fed up not to mention Veronica or Rachel from Cardholder services who call, I got one this week and pressed 1 to speak to a real person. Told them they better not call me again or I’m reporting them, hung up on me. That was from a local number. What to do?

Consumer Need: A Sense of Mindfulness on Consumer Thought & Concern      Note that the article presumes wrongly, omitting essentially important information and, at the same time, it is misleading. The article provides, in part: ....      You also can register your number with the Do Not Call Registry. [   http:// /             ] 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. [  complaint/complaintcheck.aspx       ]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.      Upon reading the above, The Do Not Call Registry does'nt cover scammers, and anyone who has called their number or visited their site already knows you can file a complaint with them too. Shifting to the paragraph that follows, one should have some mindfulness the consumer is often still searching for essential help because scammers are'nt covered in the preceding paragraph on the Do Not Call Registry. Perhaps in hope to some degree, positive thinking, a consumer can almost naturally perceive the underlying link to "reporting unwanted calls", is to a form of reporting other than the Do Not Call Registry. Too often, the results are inevitable: unfortunate wasted effort, in consumers making no progress and discovering they're wrong.

What do I do when people are spoofing my number? I get calls asking me why I called someone, but I never called that person!

I keep getting calls all day/night from UMASS MEMORIAL, as I block the number they call back with a different number. Now they are using numbers of people I KNOW THAT CALL ME so I have to answer thinking it's a friend or family !!!!!!!!

The frustrating part is that everyone (including FTC) tell you options many of which cost victims more money and are likely not to work when enforcement of the do-not-call registry would ....

It is easy to say, "Just ignore the call." I have to look at the phone to know that it is *another* spoof call. I get multiple calls a day on my cell phone, and have begun receiving them on my home phone, too. It is a huge time waster. It is a constant irritant. We need a national solution.

I started answering "Madison County Criminal Justice Department, Officer Dooly speaking. I know we can't stop these vulture calls but the scam calls have dropped from 15 a day to about 2 a week.

I like your solution and am going to copy you.

I believe carriers could do a lot more in seeking out these offenders. Don't provide them service.

This is how spyware and malware is inserted into your cell phone, also voicemail spies gain access to your phone just by your answering. Do NOT answer calls from unknown sources. Once someone "gets into" your phone, it is very difficult to remove them and near impossible to remove yourself from remote surveillance systems. Also do not post your cell phone number or home address on any social media sites, public, private, or otherwise.

I keep getting calls from this home improvement company from local 864 numbers and you're right when you call the person back they have no clue. So I've started telling each one of the Home Improvement guys that called me that my house burnt down and there's no need for improvements right now until it's rebuilt and even then it would be new and shouldn't need any improvements. But they insist that I may need some home improvements and I finally have to hang up on them. It's like they don't understand anything past the scripted information they read.

Some people get a great deal of satisfaction in wasting the time of the spoofer, leading them on and giving them fake information!

I've started a "campaign".... Instead of blocking the number with an app I will call the number with my ID blocked. And then inform the true owner of the problem. After a brief conversation explaining the situation they will call their service provider and complain.

We as consumers have to start with our carriers/service providers and by complaining in large numbers put THEM on the spot to stop this annoying scammer behavior. The thing is the providers have the technology and the means to stop this before the call even reaches you. Here's why... you get a call matching your area code and prefix, it has name in the caller ID. That caller ID is provided by the carrier who services (and bills you) that number. Their "system" is able to determine where the call originated, internally from their system or EXTERNALLY.

So don't be apathetic and ignore or block the number. Call the number back (especially if there was a caller ID with a name) via a different phone (and block the ID with *67) and kindly, very kindly inform who ever answers of what just happened.

Every person I've spoken with has been appreciative and says they'll be calling their carrier to complain.

And it doesn't do ANYTHING but cause more headache. The solution will only be purely technological. That said, carriers can't "do" anything about it, because the problem lies within the structure of the phone system itself. It's an exploitation of a vulnerability in the protocols used to connect two endpoints (you and the entity initiating the call).

Calling the number back that appears on caller ID only can warn someone that their number is being used, and nothing else. All you're doing by calling them is perpetuating the problem because now they've received an annoying call too.

Reporting it to a carrier doesn't do any good, as they can't trace it back either, for the same reasons you can't.

Reporting it to FTC/FCC/etc is of no use, for the same reasons.

Answering is a dangerous game, because they can use your voice against you later, by recording it and spoofing OTHER automated systems in other ways (such as "authenticating" themselves as you to something that can do a lot more damage than an annoying phone call.

The "Do not call" registry just puts your number on a list that can be harvested, which only serves to perpetuate the problems further.

The problem is in the *technology itself*, and until the underlying system that modern phones use is *changed* to make this activity impossible, it's not going to go away. Eventually this will happen, just like the original "copper pair" system and it's switching/routing system were replaced by the defective system in use today. But it costs a LOT of money to revamp systems as complex as phone systems are.

It's annoying, but there's nothing you, the authorities, the carrier service reps, the FCC, the FTC, or any lawmaker can do to resolve the underlying issues.

This should be obvious by now... We've been dealing with it for how long?

We're all sick of it, but we've got about as much chance of stopping it by protest as we have in stopping the sun from coming up every morning.

Best methods to deal with this:

1. Don't answer unknown numbers.

2. Don't give your number to every Tom, Dick, and Harry that asks for it. Essential entities only. This minimizes it's presence "in the wild".

3. They don't leave voicemail; Legit callers will, if it's important.

4. Don't call the number back, all you're doing is creating more chaos, because the person that answers (if they're smart, they won't anyway) - doesn't have any idea who you are and now you're just extending the frustration to someone else.

5. Don't install apps on your phone that purport the ability to block these calls... There's a reasonable chance you're just feeding your number back into a list that they will inevitably use somewhere else down the line.

That's how it works, folks... It's simply best to ignore them. Sorry.

I'm getting calls from neighbors saying I call them and hang up. So someone is neighbor spoofing using my phone number, which is infuriating. Is there anything that can be done to trace these calls and end this?

It is a shame that there are people out there spending their time devising scams rather than a cure for cancer, but I would rather be proactive. Everyone I know understands that I do not answer the phone immediately for anyone other than my husband, and they leave a message. The scammers don't leave messages, unless it is preprogrammed as part of their robocall. No biggie, I delete them.
There is no law that says you HAVE to answer your phone immediately. It is a tool, not your master. 30 years ago, your phone was a t home, or work and if someone called when you were driving, it was no big deal. Phone calls, texts and facebook should not control us, we are not their slaves. If the ringing bugs you, turn down the volume. I use my phone for business, and I still do not answer every call immediately. My days are less stressful because of it

Amazing the spoofing, robo calls are increasing as pay services are popping up also amazing I've been on the do not call list for years...Guess the telemarketing companies fund a lot of election campaigns...

happens to me all the time. I just got an angry text from someone who claims I called them 5 times today. In fact I never called them, they called me. I don't quite understand why scammers do this or what they might actually gain from it.

it all falls on the ADMIN to the VOIP system that scammers use. I was admin to our cities VOIP system and you can make any number you wish to go out as caller ID, for example our police depart private line was 867-5309. So with that being said, the admin to the system should be held accountable for the made up numbers. It should be made that they have to adhere to the numbers with in their range and that heavy fines will be issued to scammers.

Everyone should call their phone provider to confirm that you are the only one authorized to use your number. Google your own cell phone number and see if your name is attached to it.

I found out I'm on the other end of this. Yes, I get these harassing calls, but I just got notified that my number was spoofed so when these telemarketers call it appears as my number. From what I can tell, there is nothing I can do.

Received numerous calls from phones with same area code and first 3-digits. Never answered the calls and later checked voicemail -- never any messages. Until, some months ago a person left a message asking me to stop calling her. Recently, a man left a message asking why I was constantly calling him. I finally called my cell carrier and spoke with a technician who said my phone had been hacked. She made some changes and said that I should turn off my phone and then restart it. That did the trick! No more calls coming in asking me to stop calling them.

Way back in 2008, I used a online service
which seemingly had a U.S. phone number for computer problems / issues regarding technical help. I had no idea the call was routed to INDIA where / when at that time in my life, I was far more trusting with sites which claimed to give technical support... They requested that I go to a specific website, where I stupidly connected to their server, and they said I had multiple issues with my computer...They actually fixed the one issue I had, but now they had my phone number and my full name and credit card #... They requested my address but I refused.

I immediately told my credit card carrier and got a new card / number issued..

Long story short, to this day I've been getting spam & spoofed phone calls that have been nothing but harassment, trying to sell me things, and they've PASSED my info to MANY other scammers and have called me all times if the day and night...

In the pass, I got angry, cussed vile things, but now I just don't answer.

I'm committed to not answering these calls, which mostly comprise of my area code spoofed following a number which closely matches my suffix.

They almost never leave messages, but when they do it's always scam stuff.

However, just today I got another message ( 6 seconds long ) from these same series of spoofed / local numbers, and there was what sounded like a gun being fired in the background...

I think they are really angry, now that I am no longer


Why is it that the telecommunication companies can't stop scammers from spoofing Caller ID? Also, I have found that when I call back a local number, it's a number that has been disconnected. This tells me that the scammers are able to hack into telecommunication companies' own files to locate non-working numbers. Don't the telecom companies have some responsibility in this?


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