What is Spoofing?

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Have you ever been the victim of countless unidentified callers on your mobile or home phone? They always seem to come at the most inconvenient times, and in a busy life, it’s hard to resist answering if it could be your child’s school or the doctor’s office.

Spoofing is the practice of scammers deliberately hiding or manipulating their phone numbers to trick people into answering the call.

What are some of the common tricks?

Neighborhood spoofing is when robocallers and scammers use a number in your same area code in an attempt to make you answer the call. After all, it’s easy to ignore a number from across the country, but if it’s your area code, it could be something important, right?

Where do they get the numbers?

Scammers can use specialized software that disguises the number to be just about anything - even yours. If you’ve ever had a stranger call you and claim that you just called them, it’s possible your number was “borrowed” for a few hours to create these scam calls.

How can you protect yourself?

With the help of the FCC, you can:

  • File a complaint. Using this page, you can file a complaint about a specific number, especially if it’s been bothering you with calls incessantly.
  • Report your number being “spoofed.” Using this page, you can report that your number may be used as a scam number.

Other ways to protect yourself

There are also other steps you can take to protect yourself from these calls and scammers, such as:

  • Don’t answer unknown numbers. If they truly need to speak with you, they can leave a message for you to return the call.
  • Don’t give out personal information, or even answer simple questions.
  • Verify calls that claim to be from companies you do know. Hang up and call the numbers listed on your bill or the website and verify they called you.
  • Put a password on your voicemail to ensure hackers can’t access it.