Fraud Alert: Fake Caller ID Scams
If it seems like you’re constantly getting phone calls from unfamiliar numbers, you’re not alone. Whether it’s on your cell or landline, phone scams are increasing.
Scammers are using caller ID to their advantage—
Don’t rely on the name or phone number showing on your caller ID to verify who’s calling you. It’s all too easy for scammers to fake (“spoof”) caller ID information to pretend they’re someone you can trust. Scammers may pretend to be from a government agency, police department, or a company you do business with, such as a utility provider or financial institution.
Do not provide or confirm your personal information—
As a general rule, never provide your personal information to somebody who calls you. Unfortunately, with the vast amount of personal and financial information already exposed through prior data and payment system breaches, scammers may be able to provide your personal information to you to boost their appearance of legitimacy. It’s possible that scammers could know information including your full name, e-mail address, street address, date of birth, credit card number, or your partial—or even your full—social security number.
Use these tips to protect yourself—
- Avoid answering calls from phone numbers you don’t recognize. If the call is important, the caller will leave a message. Every time you answer a scam call, this confirms to scammers that your phone number is active and worth targeting.
- Are you being pressured by the caller to act immediately? If so, hang up. Scammers often rely on pressure and a sense of urgency to prevent their targets from having time to think clearly or consult with others.
- If it appears that a company you do business with is contacting you, and you’re not sure if it’s legitimate or a spoof, hang up. Don’t give out or confirm your personal or financial information to someone who calls. Use a known phone number, such as a number listed on a bill or account statement, to call the company back.
Learn more about caller ID scams and how to protect yourself by visiting the FTC’s Consumer Information blog.