Phone scam: Your number shows up on Caller ID

Don't Waste Your Money

Telemarketers and robocallers are a big pain, especially when they call during dinner time.

So nowadays most people have Caller ID, so they can see who is calling and if they want to pick up.

Unfortunately, those callers have found a new way around Caller ID.

Couldn't Believe Who Was Calling

Robin Gilbert was working on her needlepoint recently, when her phone rang.
She took a quick look to see who it was, and was stunned at who was calling her.

"I went to see the Caller ID to see if I was going to answer it," she explained. "And lo and behold it was me calling, exactly how it shows up in the White Pages in the phone book!"

Yes, the Caller ID showed her name, and her number. Was she calling herself from the future? No, of course not.

"I answered it with a Hello, who is this? And it was one of those stupid robocalls," she said.

Widespread Scam

This is a new scam known as Caller ID "spoofing," but there's nothing funny about this spoof.

"I'm curious as to where they got it, and how they got it to show up on my home phone," Gilbert said.

But it's easy to do. Unscrupulous telemarketers can now buy devices and smartphone apps that will change the number that shows up.

The Better Business Bureau says the newest spoofing devices let the marketers display the exact number they are calling, in other words, your number.

Spoofing is legal:  It's used legitimately by private eyes, lawyers, and people trying to catch a spouse cheating.
But scammers are going to town with these, even pretending to be President Obama calling from the White House, just to get you to answer.

Robin would like the president to have it outlawed.

What You Can Do

The easiest way to avoid getting these calls is to not pick up unknown numbers.

If you can find out who is calling (for instance, if they give you a number to call back) report that number to the do not call list complaint hotline.


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