7On your side: Caller ID spoofing - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7On your side: Caller ID spoofing

It's called caller ID spoofing and it's aimed at tricking you into answering a call from someone likely in a foreign country.  

A DeRidder couple is among hundreds contacted.

"I didn't know it was call spoofing, I just knew it was tricking people into answering their phone," said 72 year old Carolyn Hinson.

She and her husband Hinson spend a lot of their time watching television. And when the phone rings-- it pops up on their TV.  Carolyn says they've had several calls that looked like a local number, but were not.

"First time it flashed up I thought somebody we knew was calling. Come to find out it was credit card advertisement or whatever," said Carolyn.

She knew something was fishy when the number on the caller id was her own number.

"When you see your own number show up, you know something's going on," said Carolyn.

Prentice agrees.  "That's when the real bad part was.  How can somebody call us from  our number and us pick up our number and talk to them."
Carolyn wonders if she'll see a charge on her bill related to the call.

Though the Hinsons were too smart to be victimized, prentice would like to see action against such culprits.

"I think it's very bad that we can't get something done concerning this.  When they say push a button, I click it.  That's when I hang up," he said.

Carmen Million, with the SWLA Better Business Bureau, says the best thing to do is hang up.

"If you have caller ID and they don't leave a message then you know it's probably  somebody you don't want to speak to.  You can also check with your phone company and have them do a search.  But the best thing to do is if you receive a call from somebody you're not familiar with, and you do answer the phone and it's somebody trying to sell you something, or trying to get personal information, the best thing to do is just hang up," said Million.

And she suggests reporting such calls to the Federal Communications Commission.

"The way they're perpetrating the scam the FCC is interested in any complaints," said Million.

The Hinsons are astounded how many scam calls they get.

"These scams, at least three a day everyday," said Prentice.

"I get calls from New York, California, all them places," said Carolyn. "I'm pretty popular." 

Carolyn says once they told her she won a sweepstakes and she believed it until the man asked for $1500.
"I said, well I'll tell you what, I don't have fifteen hundred and he hung up on me."

She had no idea she was returning a call to a foreign country.

"Little did I know I was calling Jamaica, I didn't know I was calling Jamaica on my cell phone, a dollar a minute,"she said.

Luckily for her, her phone provider waived the $10 long distance charge, though not all consumers are so fortunate.

More tips from the Better Business Bureau follow this story.

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BBB Alert: Local Consumers Targets of Caller ID Spoofing


Local consumers may think they're answering a local call when a phone number with a local area code pops up on their caller ID.

The robocalls most often originate from telemarketers overseas who disguise their number as local or similar to the consumers' own to trick them into answering their phones. This scam is known as "Caller ID Spoofing". The callers advertise lower credit card interest rates and ask for the recipient's credit card number, states Carmen Million, President of Better Business Bureau Serving SWLA.

The BBB said it has received numerous calls within the last few days from consumers around the state who complained about getting such calls. Similar complaints have been recorded across the country.

"Con artists use software and devices to dial over the Internet and can then make any business name and phone number appears on the caller ID," said Million. "This hijacking scheme allows callers to attempt to gain your trust, as well as your important personal or financial information."

Robocalls are illegal and telemarketers who don't have permission from the consumer in writing to make such calls can face penalties of up to $10,000 per call, the BBB said.

Here are some tips you can take to avoid becoming a victim of credit card fraud or identity theft through robocalls and/or Caller ID Spoofing:

  • Never give out financial information, including bank account, credit card or social security numbers over the phone unless you initiated the call.
  • Don't rely on caller ID. Scammers can spoof the number to make it look like the call is coming from a legitimate business.
  • Hang up. Don't press any buttons to speak to an operator or to unsubscribe. Responding will only show the scammers that they have a live, working number. This can lead to even more calls from other telemarketers.
  • Block the phone number in your cell phone settings or ask your provider to block the number. (Make sure to ask the provider whether the company charges for this service.)
  • Sign up for the national do-not-call registry by calling (888) 382-1222 from the number you wish to register, or register for the do-not-call list online.

If you feel you have been a victim of "Caller ID Spoofing", you can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission by phone at 1-888-CALL-FCC or by email at www.fcc.gov/complaints.




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