Should we answer our phone calls anymore?


Fraudsters have been using emails for their spoofing scams for years, but now they have turned to using telephones to target possible victims in their scams. Fraudsters are now using a scheme called caller ID spoofing in which the phone messages use spoofed area codes, numbers and names, to attempt to get potential victims to reveal personal identifiable information (PII), which will be used for identity theft purposes. The scammers give the impression that they are from a reputable or legitimate organization and the name is listed in the caller ID.

Here is an example of what the caller may say to get potential victims to verify the information:

“I am calling from (bank or institution). Someone has been using your debit card ending in

2345 at (retailer or business). I will need to verify you Social Security number – which ends

In 5678, right? and full debit card information so we can stop this unauthorized activity”

If any of these calls are received and you suspect it could be a scam, just hang up and follow the steps below.

The FTC recommends these steps to identify and deal with these phone scams, so you do not become a victim and fraudsters do not steal your identity:

  1. Do not assume the person or company listed on your caller ID is really who’s calling. In these phone scams the fraudster can make it look like they are calling from a trusted company or individual.

  2. If you get a phone call, text or email from anyone asking for personal identifiable information (PII), do not respond. Go through other sources to confirm if the company or individual is legitimate.

  3. If the caller lists information such as the last four digits or your debit card, credit card or social security number do not trust someone because they have that information. Scammers can retrieve all kinds of PII about you from different sources.

  4. If you have given out some of your PII go to this website, IdentityTheft.gov, to find out what you can do to prevent your information from being used in the scam.

  5. If you receive any calls and do not divulge any personal information still report the scam to the FTC at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams to help with the investigation of these schemes.

Local law enforcement agencies encourage you to report these scams to them as well as the media so they can alert the public of these schemes to minimize the damage that could happen to other individuals.

Keep Alert Everyone!


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