Crooks Use Caller ID Spoofing to Wear “Mask” of a Local Phone Number

One of the best ways to avoid phone scams has traditionally been to not answer calls from numbers that you do not recognize on your Caller ID. But crooks have a sneaky way around this. With Caller ID spoofing, they are able to make it appear as if their calls are coming from a local phone number. They literally hide behind the “mask” of a legitimate phone number in order to increase the likelihood that you’ll pick up the phone.

How does it work? Caller ID spoofing providers (such as SpoofCard) allow individuals and organizations to dictate what phone number they want to appear when they place calls. They pay for a certain number of call minutes, then use an online interface to enter their phone number, the number to be called, and the number they want to appear in the recipient’s Caller ID. The Caller ID proofing service then makes the call on the spoofer’s behalf.

The goal of this scam is to try and get you to reveal personal information such as account numbers, passwords, and Social Security numbers. To avoid becoming a victim of Caller ID spoofing, take the following precautions:

• Never give out personal information over the phone, such as account numbers, unless you initiate the call.

• If you receive a call requesting information, ask for the name of the organization that is calling. Then, call that organization, using the phone number on your bill, if it’s available—NOT the number on your Caller ID. If the call is legitimate, you will be transferred to the appropriate department. If it’s not legitimate, you can inform the organization of the spoofing incident.

To learn more about Caller ID spoofing, visit

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