"Spoofing" Attacks

June 16, 2014

BBB Warns of “Spoofing” Attacks On Your Phone

LAFAYETTE, LA- A spoofing attack occurs when a scammer masquerades as another person or legitimate business by falsifying caller ID data, thereby gaining an advantage in tricking residents out of private information such as bank account numbers or Social Security numbers.

Several consumers have recently reported receiving credit card or other types of scam calls into their home or cell phones where the number was spoofed to either appear local, or in several cases, the actual number of the person being called.

Thursday and Friday, BBB received several reports of spoofing from concerned residents reporting that they actually received scam calls on their home phones from their own number.

The scam callers usually offer to help lower credit card debt but sometimes claim to be the IRS demanding payment for delinquent taxes.

BBB offers the following tips to protect yourself from this scam:

•Start with Trust®. Check with the BBB before giving personal information such as Social Security or banking information if you do not know who called.

•Be wary of requests to "verify" information or give banking information, especially if the caller claims affiliation with a government agency. The IRS usually contacts consumers by letter on official letterhead before calling them.

•If you believe the call to actually be from a government agency or business, confirm the call by calling them from a number from their official website, not the phone number from your caller ID.

•If you receive a call you believe to be a scam, do not press any numbers or speak to anyone, even if a robo-call option is to remove your number from the call list. Hang up immediately to avoid receiving numerous future calls.

• If you feel you are a victim, report it to your bank immediately, file a police report and regularly check and monitor all accounts for any fraudulent activity. You can obtain one free credit report per year at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Anyone wishing to stop annoying calls can register their cell and home numbers with the Do Not Call Registry, operated by the FTC. The service is available online at www.donotcall.gov or call (888) 382-1222. The Do Not Call Registry, unfortunately, will only remove your phone number from the lists of legitimate, legal businesses, not scammers operating outside of the law.

BBB works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.