Phone Spoofing Incidents on the Rise

Bassett Medical Center

December 23, 2016

A number of people are reporting an uptick in the incidence of caller ID spoofing, a practice that uses technology to impersonate a business or individual. It is a scam that is on the rise nationwide as more people reject calls from numbers they are unfamiliar with. The scammer poses as a familiar business, government agency or individual to trick people into answering the phone.

Most recently, dozens of people in Cooperstown and the surrounding area have reported getting calls that display as originating from within the Bassett Healthcare Network. The individuals who received the calls say a 547 number appears on their caller ID along with Bassett’s name. In reality, the caller is using technology to alter the information that appears on the recipient’s caller ID display. Because phone numbers are altered, there is not a way to verify who is making the calls or from where.

Typically, scammers who use caller ID spoofing are trying to sell a product or obtain information. The Better Business Bureau says the scam often involves an automated call offering, for instance, lower interest rates if the individual answering the call will verify a bank or credit card number.

Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to stop these spoofing scams. But you can protect yourself from falling victim by following these tips from the Better Business Bureau:

  • Do not give personal information to an unfamiliar company or individual, whether it’s by phone, mail or e-mail. This includes credit card numbers, credit card expiration dates, your social security number, driver’s license number, bank account numbers or any other personal information.
  • Do not provide sensitive information over the phone just because the caller ID says you are talking to a trusted source.
  • Be leery of “banks” or “credit card companies” requesting verification of account numbers. If your bank or credit card company has a legitimate reason to call, they already have your information on record and won’t need to ask for identifying information over the phone.
  • Unless you’ve initiated the call, it’s best not to conduct business over the phone.
  • Report spoofing calls to the FCC.

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) prohibits the use of using caller ID spoofing with intent to defraud, cause harm and wrongfully obtain anything of value. Report spoofing calls to the FCC using this link to the complaint form: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us

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