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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.

Scam Tags:  Phone Scams


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?

The FTC shares the phone numbers people report to the Do Not Call registry with telecommuncations providers.

The telecommunications providers are working on call blocking solutions, and many of those solutions rely on blacklists (databases of numbers that have been reported as the source of illegal calls). Companies use the information the FTC provides 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.

This number keeps calling me. Does anyone recognize it or have an idea what it is?

I've had 4 calls today between my cell and land line. I have a land line phone that has the capability to block calls. I just reached the 250 number limit on my landline. I had to delete some of the blocked numbers so I could add 2 more blocked numbers. I had one call on thanksgiving...claiming to be from Medicare. I had less than kind words for her. The gall on these clowns is unbelievable.

Me too. Made comments today for my home and cell numbers. Since March 2017 getting calls from hometown numbers same first 6 numbers and cell first 6 numbers. Had to delete 50 numbers from home phone because I reached the 250 limit also. Then they kept calling and blocked them again and again. FTC, AT&T, CABLEVISION no help. Put nomorobo on home voip account, stops some numbers. But spammed, spoofed numbers will not stop.

Unfortunately, using your carrier's "block" or blocking the number is only blocking a legitimate phone number that has been scammed. My phone is issued for work and it is publicized. I deal with the public, so I get 2-3 calls a day asking what I wanted and I have to explain I did not call to a disbelieving person on the other end. I get another half-dozen, local calls a day from a number with the same area code and 3-digit exchange. If I block it, it is an innocent person's number. Now, I never answer any of them. If it was important they will leave a message.

Just FYI, I just made a payment on my credit card and a service popped up stating that by providing my phone number will help ensure my security of said credit card. I was about to fill it out as ive done so many times, until i read the fine print which stated that by giving my phone number, i agree to get autodialer calls from affiliated services from said credit card.
So theres your fake callers, you agreed and its not illegal.
A trade off for securing whats most important for your phone number to be traded practically infinitely. Because even if it is legal for that company to call you, once the affiliates get your number, im sure they illegally give your number out.

We just don't answer unknown or unavailable numbers. If it's somene we know calling from a different number or important, they'll leave a message. I recently blocked some numbers through the Verizon Wireless site. It's only good for so many days, but at least it's been much quieter for about two weeks now. Those numbers are: 231-216-7044, 616-426-8829, and 231-570-5082.
If only there was a permanent solution for these deplorable people!! For starters, phone companies could help making the blocks permanent.

I am responding to one of the older comments about an air horn. I was originally getting calls from multiple numbers at least 10 times a day and i got fed up with it. So everytime somebody called and i didnt know the number and they didnt have a valid reason for calling other then to scam me they got hit with an airhorn in their ear. Quite frankly the government was doing nothing so I did

What about when it supposedly comes from MY number???
I'm getting so many of these, that it's beyond annoying.

If a call comes in without a name attached, or is from out of state or out of country, I answer and immediately hang up. Then I block their number. I don’t just let it keep ringing then go to my voicemail because then I am wasting more time listening to the message they leave.

I am totally sick and tired of these robot calls, even when I rush to answer,the is no one or a prompt to press to be removed. This is just not harassment it is also dangerous for the receiver, I fell rushing for the phone.??? something need to be done, but how, since they are using local area codes,with internet devices.???

The calls I get come from local numbers as well. Except, the call locations change when I change location. When I go to work, the calls start coming in from surrounding towns. When I go on vacation, same thing, calls come from surrounding towns. If I turn off location services will this help? Because they can obviously see where I am?

Some of the spoof calls I've been getting are coming from China. They call twice and both calls are spoofed with my people from my area. The second type I've gotten are recorded messages in Chinese.

Why are the VOIP SIP providers not blacklisted if they continue to allow customers to spoof caller ID? We can stop all this with a simple policy of putting these providers on notice to police their customers and if not, blacklist the VOIP SIP provider completely from US networks.

We should be doing this RIGHT NOW!

Since 3/25/17 between the data breaches and health care companies hacks. I get the neighborhood phishing scam with same first six #s 516-628-xxxx, 5146,5820,2579,5228,8206,6766,8646,4431,9078,2454,7973,4627,1434,4229,3264,5279,2127,& about 20 more. They never leave a message, most are out of service. Some are from real numbers but not those who have them. Notified FTC, Cablevision can't do anything, nomorobo can't stop calls, Same issue with CELL PHONE number, first 6 numbers same, then diff last 4, numbers not in service or no answer, FTC notified, AT&T can't do anything.

If your caller ID shows "WCF" and what looks like a local call (your area code and even your neighborhood 3 digit prefix) DO NOT ANSWER! WCF indicates they are using spoofing software to mask the call origins and it is pure spam or phishing. Also many calls lately in my area pretending to be the local electrical utility either threatening to shut off the power unless a pre-paid charge card number is provided OR they try to convince you that you can get "senior citizen rate discount" on your light bill (this is to try to get you to reveal your birth date that they can use to steal your identity). Since I worked for the local power company for the previous 10 years I know there are no such discounts so I told the caller (who had a heavy Southeast Asian accent) that I knew she was a lying scammer before I hung up. So don't give any information to anyone who claims to be the power company or any other utility. If you are unsure, tell them you need a number to call them right back. That will usually cause them to hang up and you'll know it was a scam. I find the only downside to being recently retired is being home more and getting up to a dozen scam calls per day.

We just received a call like this with the ID reading "WCF". As soon as the answering machine picked up they hung up. Thanks for the tip. They will be blocked.

Apparently our number was used in a "neighbor spoof." We received dozens of calls from people who saw our number in the "missed call" window and called us to see what was going on. Very annoying, and apparently faking a phone number is legal.

I have read a lot of comments telling people to hang up on questionable calls. Why answer at all if the call is unidentified and/or unfamiliar? Chances are it's a scam.

Simple solution: Don't answer any call if name or number is not in your phone contact list!!!

For what we are all paying the cell phone companies those little taxes and fees they tack on should be put to use here. I'm not a phone grabber and our cell phones are our life line to a family member with serious health issues. As for the Do Not Call registry being for only large companies- the one or two times we errantly answered the person on the other end was using my name and a large companies reward system that I participate with. Not okay.

Someone just called me and was upset and said "you called me 5 times. Why?" I said that I had NOT called them, ever and only answered because the phone number looked similiar to mine. He said again, "well, you called me, I just pressed redial." I said again "it's something weird or a scam but I did not call you! I am a mom trying to cook dinner right now and I have never called you." Ugh. I don't have time for this.

My landline rings from 6AM until 11PM, anywhere from 6 to 20 times a day. I signed upfor for all the nomorobo etc. But I'm still getting excessive calls. I picked up the phone to call my doctor's office and lo and behold some sales person was calling in when I was trying to call out. This needs to stop, these calls are hurting people. What if it hadbeen an emergency? Please make them stop before someone dies because of these abuses in communication.

Thank you to all the liberals who decided to release cell phone numbers!

No one released cell phone numbers.

You might have seen a spam email, or heard a rumor about cell phone numbers being released. That is not true. The truth about cell phones and the Do Not Call Registry is:

  • The government is not releasing cell phone numbers to telemarketers.
  • There is no deadline for registering a cell phone number on the Do Not Call Registry.

The Do No Call Registry does not work when Caller ID Spoofing is allowed. There is no way to report these companies who use caller ID spoofing since we do not know their real phone number. The only way to stop this is to require phone companies to verify caller IDs and where the call is coming from before allowing a call to go through (the same as was done with email spoofing).

Bridget, where can we find the FTC's plan on stopping the neighbor number spoofing? My son and my father are particularly vulnerable to scams because of their experience and advanced age. I received three invalid calls just today plus one person who called me saying they were recalling me from their missed calls list. All the numbers on my missed call list are 713-818-xxxx... the same as mine. My number was originally issued through Verizon Wireless.


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