It has grown increasingly bothersome and also disturbing at the amount of calls many of us are getting everyday. The frustration level is high for many of us who don’t know if the call is legitimate or one of those robo calls congress is trying to figure out how to stop.
What the heck is caller id spoofing? According to the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Scammers often use neighbor spoofing so it appears that an incoming call is coming from a local number, or spoof a number from a company or a government agency that you may already know and trust. If you answer, they use scam scripts to try to steal your money or valuable personal information, which can be used in fraudulent activity.”
In short, it is a very bad practice and one that has hurt many a person no matter their age. Please don’t provide these callers with any information. The best practice is to not answer the phone. If the spoofer leaves a message,(most of them don’t) do your due diligence to verify that it is actually someone you know and you can call a number back you know without a doubt that it is the right number.
What are some of the scams by these Spoofers?
Steal your Identity - they ask for personally identifying information which then allows them to open up credit in your name and potentially ruin your good credit. Ask anyone who has been a victim of identity theft and they will tell you how hard it is to get your credit back to where it was before the scam.
Steal your money - many a trusting person has fallen for a spoof bank call asking for a pin number or account information only to find out later that their bank accounts or investment accounts have been cleaned out. It is almost impossible to get their money back. There have been stories of retirees losing their life savings which is a tragedy.
Steal your health or medicare insurance information by gaining your identity - Most doctor’s offices are now asking to see your picture identification with your insurance information when you check in for an appointment. They are confirming your identity. Many medical offices are taking your picture at the time of check in to compare to the identification they have on file for you.
Why is this necessary? It is because of scammers using health identification from others to gain treatment for themselves and often to illegally obtain medications which can then be sold on the market to make thousands of dollars illegally. Please don’t give out your medical identification information to someone over the phone unless you have initiated the call with your trusted medical provider’s office. If you receive mail from a medical provider with a way to fill out your information ahead of your doctor’s visit, take your forms with you to the doctor’s office and don’t mail them to the provider unless you have documented that the address is a legitimate office address.
Check out this website https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id which also has a short video titled “Spoofing: “Don’t hang on, hang up!” The information provided by the FCC is excellent and worth your time to review.
Be cautious when deciding whether to answer a number you do not know. It may well save you from losing your identity, money or health insurance.