Spoofing: What You Should Know

If annoying “Robo” sales calls are enough to make you wary of picking up the phone, now you can add another reason to place your phone on “Do Not Disturb.”

It’s called “spoofing,” which is a tactic often used by telemarketing companies to make you more comfortable with answering your phone. But it’s developed into something much worse. It’s become another fraudulent activity aimed at tricking you into sharing your sensitive personal information.

“Spoofing” involves a person placing a call while producing falsified information displayed on caller ID. This disguises the caller’s identity, and it makes it look like the incoming call is originating from a trusted company. It could look like the call is coming from a financial institution, utility company, or a governmental agency.

The potential for trouble increases if that person on the phone, posing as a representative of one of these companies or organizations, requests sensitive personal information: account numbers, passwords, answers to security questions, etc.

The Federal Communications Commission has issued a reminder that you may not be able to tell right away that an incoming call is spoofed. The FCC gives advice on what to do if you think you are being spoofed:

You have the law to help you. According to the federal Truth in Caller ID Act, anyone who is convicted of illegally spoofing faces penalties of up to $10,000 for each case. If you suspect a call you received is a spoof, report it to the FCC.

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