February 1 2018

When it Comes to Incoming Calls 'Local' Does Not Mean 'Legitimate'


Just because an incoming call looks like it’s coming from a local number does not make it legit.

The Federal Trade Commission is warning residents that scammers have ways to fake the number they are calling from to make it look more trustworthy.

“When your phone rings and it looks like a local call, you may be more likely to answer,” the FTC says. “Scammers count on this and can easily fake caller ID numbers. They even can match the first six digits of your own number, which is called “neighbor spoofing.” The urge to answer can be tough to resist, since you might worry it’s a neighbor who needs help, or the school nurse.”

If you see a number like this on your caller ID, remember that it could be faked, the FTC continues. Letting it go to voicemail is one option. If you do pick up and don’t recognize the caller, just hang up.

But what else can you do? Call blocking services that block or flag unwanted calls can help. These services include mobile apps, features built into your mobile phone, cloud-based services, call-blocking devices, or services provided by your phone service carrier. Some are free and others cost money.

“You also can register your number with the Do Not Call Registry,” the FTC advises. “The Do Not Call Registry is designed to stop sales calls from legitimate companies, so it won’t stop calls from scammers. But it could make it easier for you to spot scam calls. If a company is ignoring the Registry, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.”


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