Ughh! Not again!
The phone rings and Caller ID displays your area code and prefix. Thinking the call must be from a neighbor or nearby business, you pick up— only to hear a telemarketer pitching something (or worse yet, a crook trying to scam you). These nuisance phone calls are made possible through the use of phone spoofing software that allows unscrupulous callers to display fake phone numbers to increase the likelihood that people will answer calls. In addition to spoofing a number that appears to be coming from your neighborhood, these criminals may even spoof your own phone number.
Phone spoofing allows spam callers to be more strategic in their methods to get you on the phone. Because each spoofed call can be placed from a unique fake number, they are close to impossible to trace the true origin of the caller.
Here are 5 steps to help combat Phone Spoofing:
- Consider subscribing to the Pioneer Communications Do Not Disturb Telemarketing Feature.
- Use Caller ID to screen calls, and consider not answering unfamiliar numbers. If it’s important, they will leave a message and you can call back. If someone calls and asks “Can you hear me?” do NOT answer “Yes.” Just hang up. Scammers change their tactics as the public catches on, so be alert for other questions designed to solicit a simple “Yes” answer.
- Make a note of the number and report it to https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us to help warn others. BBB also shares Scam Tracker information with government and law enforcement agencies, so every piece of information is helpful in tracking down scammers.
- Consider joining the Do Not Call Registry (https://www.donotcall.gov/) to cut down on telemarketing and sales calls. This may not help with all scammers since they don’t bother to pay attention to the law, but you’ll get fewer calls overall, which may help you more quickly notice the ones that could be fraudulent.
- Check your bank and credit card statements regularly for unauthorized charges. It’s also a good idea to check your telephone and cell phone bills, as well. Scammers may be using the “Yes” recording of your voice to authorize charges on your phone. This is called “cramming” and it’s illegal.