Spoofing Scams – What They Are and What Can We Do?

I answered the phone, “Hello, this is Mary Hancock,” and the voice on the other end said “Your number’s in my phone!” My mind immediately wandered to 2001 when Hansel told Derek Zoolander that “the files are in the computer” triggering Derek to smash the computer on the ground. I wanted to bring this up but the voice seemed annoyed and I wasn’t positive the speaker enjoyed 2000s comedies to the same extent as I did. So I let it go, and just asked “What do you mean?” The caller then stated that she had a “missed call” from my telephone number and we eventually mutually decided that I personally hadn’t called her. But who did? Why do numbers come from my phone that aren’t from me? And why are people getting telephone calls in this fashion?

What is “Spoofing:” According to the Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”), “Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity.” Stated a little more plainly, when someone calls you from a telephone number that isn’t their own through some sort of telephone number concealment device (whether it be a telephone app or internet website).

When people use spoofing, FCC indicates, a lot of times the number may appear as a local number on your Caller ID even when the caller is not calling form your area.

What do “Spoofing Attackers” Want: Unsurprisingly, your identity and your money.

What to do when you get a Spoofing Call: Hang up or do not answer calls from telephone numbers you do not know! Do not provide any personal information over the telephone to an incoming call.

What to do if you have been Victimized: File a Complaint with the FCC through this link.

I recommend reading the whole FCC publication on this topic or any of the following sites that I have reviewed in creating this short article:

Federal Communication Commission, “Caller ID Spoofing.” Online Available at: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id (Accessed 2/8/2021).

Federal Communication Commission, “The FCC’s Push to Combat Robocalls & Spoofing.” https://www.fcc.gov/spoofed-robocalls (Accessed 2/8/2021).

Blog By: Mary Hancock

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