Why is My Number Calling Me? A Crazy New Scam

June 23, 2014

BBB is warning consumers about a scam which is targeting local area consumers. Consumers have reported receiving calls which appear to be from local businesses; however BBB believes the calls are coming from overseas. Callers have likely purchased lists of cell and home phone numbers, or use robocall capabilities to randomly dial. Using a technique called "spoofing", scam artists attempt to trick customers into thinking a legitimate business is calling. BBB is advising consumers to use caution when providing information over the phone.  

Here’s how the scam works: Your phone rings, the number looks familiar. When the call is answered, the a computerized voice claims to have methods to lower your credit card interest rates, which of course, means they require a credit card number.

“Technology has made it easier and provided new options for scammers.  Using software to dial over the internet, criminals can make any business name and phone number show up on caller I.D.,” said Jim Hegarty, BBB President and CEO. “By hijacking the names and phone numbers of companies with which you are familiar, the callers attempt to gain your trust in hopes they can trick you into handing over important financial information.”

Before responding to unsolicited phone calls, BBB advises the following:

Never give out any financial information. If you did not initiate the call, do not provide bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers over the phone unless you have thoroughly done your research and verified the caller.

Don’t rely on caller ID. Scammers can use technology to make it appear as though their calls are coming from legitimate businesses or organizations.

Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right to you, end the call.

If you receive one of these scam calls, hang up and report it to BBB so they can warn others. For more information on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous activity, please call the BBB Hotline: 800-649-6814.