It can be a bit startling, your phone rings and the number on the caller ID looks similar to your own.
Their motivation is to convince you to give them important or sensitive information over the phone; like credit card information, cellular phone pin number or your social security number.
“The very best thing you can do is just not answer the phone,” Sheriff Dennis Kelly said. “If you do answer and you hear press 1 or press 2, don't press anything because anything you press tells them there's a warm body on the end of this number.“
Under the Truth in Caller ID Act, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “prohibits any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongly obtain anything of value.”
What should you do if you receive a spoofed number?
The FCC suggests:
Never give out personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers, a mother’s maiden name, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request.
Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
If you receive a call and you suspect caller ID information has been falsified, or you think the rules for protecting the privacy of your telephone number have been violated, you can file a complaint with the FCC.