Scam Alert: "Neighbor spoofing" Phone Calls
A new phone scam warning was issued by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) where scammers contact people by telephone, manipulating the Caller ID number to appear to be a local number. In many instances, it is a random number with the same area code and first three digits the same as your own phone number. There have also been reports that the scammers make the call appear to originate from a state agency.
For phone scams to be successful, scammers need people to pick up the phone so they can initiate the conversation. Neighbor spoofing uses a spoofed caller ID to trick a person into thinking somebody local, possibly even someone they know, is calling. Answering one of these caller ID-spoofed calls will indicate to the robocaller that you have an active phone line. Active phone lines are valuable to phone scammers and will often put you on what is referred to as a “sucker list,” potentially opening your phone line up to more scam calls.
Here are a few BBB tips to help identify and handle “neighbor spoofing” phone calls:
- Avoid answering calls from phone numbers you don’t recognize, even if they appear to be local. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message.
- If your own phone number is used in a caller ID spoof call, you may receive calls and messages from people asking why you called them in the first place. This can lead to a lot of confusion between the two parties, but knowing your own number can be used by scammers may help explain the situation.
- Be aware that phone numbers of local businesses, including doctor’s offices and/or insurance agents, may appear to be calling you. If you’re not certain whether the call is legitimate or a spoof, hang up and dial the known phone number for the contact to verify the communication, especially if personal and/or financial information is being requested.
- There are call blocking apps that may help decrease the amount of spam calls, including those using a spoof caller ID. Your phone carrier may also provide a similar service or offer advice.
- Make sure your phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. Though it is unlikely to prevent most phone scam calls, it will help to reduce calls received from legitimate telemarketers, which can be helpful in screening fraudulent calls.
If you receive a robocall where the Caller ID indicates that the call originates from the Texas Board of Nursing (BON), hang up. The BON does not utilize any robocall technology in contacting nurses or nurse candidates. Scammers change their tactics frequently so you should remain vigilant in safeguarding your personal information. Board staff will continue to provide information on new scam techniques as it becomes available. For more information on “neighbor spoofing”, visit: https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/16670-a-new-kind-of-phone-scam-neighbor-spoofing#:~:text=In%20many%20instances%2C%20it%20is%20a%20random%20number,business%20or%20person%20with%20whom%20you%E2%80%99ve%20previously%20communicated