Caller ID Spoofing Scams: Signs and Ways to Avoid Getting Spoofed
Telemarketers have come up with several ways to get people to answer their calls and try to sell them unnecessary products. One of the most common sneaky telemarketing scams these days is caller ID spoofing which makes it easier for telemarketers to con people out of money or make them pay for unnecessary services/products. If you are unfamiliar with caller ID spoofing scams, it is time to get to know this trick and learn how to avoid phone number spoofing scams.
What is Caller ID Spoofing?
Caller ID spoofing is intended to make a person believe that a phone call originated from a location other than the real one, and it is a common practice among overseas telemarketers. For example, a caller from Haiti will spoof a phone number to make it seem like the call is coming from Chicago.
When the person on the other side of the call sees an incoming phone call from a local number, it is likelier that he/she will answer the call. That way, telemarketers and scammers increase the chances of convincing people to pay for services/products or provide their credit card information that the scammer will later use.
The practice of phone number spoofing is illegal, and those who do it can get a fine of up to $1,500 or an individual and a $15,000 fine per violation for a corporation.
Phone Number Spoofing Methods
To get people to answer calls, phone number spoofers will do the following:
- The caller ID will display your phone number (mirroring) to get you to pick up the phone.
- The caller ID will display a phone number with the first few digits being of a local number.
- The caller ID will display a phone number that you will not be able to dial back (like 999-999-9999)
- The caller ID will display the name of a legitimate organization/person.
How to Protect Yourself from Caller ID Spoofing?
Phone number spoofing can lead to many problems, the main one being money and identity theft. So, you must protect yourself from this type of scam, which you can easily do by following these tips:
1. Do not answer unknown phone numbers – if you receive a call from an unknown number, do not pick up the phone. It is highly likely that such a call is a scam, so you should avoid answering unknown numbers.
2. Register your phone number at the Do Not Call Registry – this is one of the safest ways to protect your phone number. With the do not call registry, your number will not be listed, so there is a smaller chance that you will be contacted by scammers and people using phone number spoofing.
3. Perform a reverse phone number search – if you want to find out if a phone number that has called you is legitimate or not, perform a reverse phone number search. Do not answer the call, and instead, use a reverse phone number lookup. The query will result in a report that includes the details of the caller (person or company), including their full name, additional contact information, address, criminal records, and more. If the search comes up empty, it is very likely that the call is from a phone number spoofer.
4. Install a caller ID app – caller ID apps, like Truecaller, provide basic information about whoever is calling you, most important of which is the name and origin of the call. Advanced features include reporting of numbers that are spam/scam calls, so you will immediately be able to see who is calling you and whether the call is from a scammer.
5. Do not give out your personal information – do not be pressured into providing Do not give out your personal information – do not be pressured into providing your account or credit card information over the phone or via text. Scammers often use elaborate lies, like contacting people on the behalf of the IRS or legal entities, causing fear and getting individuals to provide personal and financial details. To make sure that you are not being scammed, search the official contact information of the agency that supposedly called you (by searching its official website) and call it to find out if the call was made by them.
Caller ID spoofing is very risky, as it can cause you to lose money or have your identity stolen. By practicing several protection practices, you will be able to avoid phone spoofers and their schemes.