Have you ever received a call with a number similar to your own, but you don’t recognize it? Or has someone ever left you a voice mail threatening to arrest you if you don’t pay your taxes? These types of calls are called spoofing.
What is spoofing?
Spoofing is a term used when someone fakes the information displayed on your caller ID - the caller deliberately displays false information on your caller ID to disguise their identity. Spoofing can be used for harmless pranks or for anonymity for innocent purposes, but it can also be used for fraudulent purposes, to impersonate someone else or to disguise a phone number. In most cases, they will spoof a random number with the same area code and first three digits of your own phone number.
They may also spoof the number to look as though it’s coming from a local business, financial institution (like AllSouth), or someone you’ve previously talked to. Spoofing is used to increase the likelihood that you will answer the call.
Why are spoofing calls dangerous?
When calls are spoofed, it makes tracing them near impossible. If you were to try and call the number back it would come back as no longer in service or direct you to the person’s number that was stolen. This means that if you provide someone with your personal information, such as social security number, home address, bank account information, there’s no telling who has it.
For the most part, these calls will originate from outside the U.S. These calls are especially rampant in other countries where they have fewer laws and regulations against spoofing. The caller will have no regard for our communication laws and do not call lists.
How do you avoid spoofing scams?
If you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer it.
If the call prompts you to press a button to stop receiving calls, don’t press it. This is a tactic used by scammers.
Don’t answer any questions, especially yes or no questions.
Don’t provide the caller with your personal information, such as PINs, account numbers, social security numbers, your mother’s maiden name, or passwords. If it is a question that can be used as a method to verify your identity, be cautious.
If you get a call from someone saying they represent a business and you are unsure whether the call is real or not, hang up and call the organization or person back at a number you are familiar with and know.
Don’t fall victim to pressure. They will try and scare you into providing information immediately.
Be on the lookout for spoofing calls and if you think you have received one contact our Call Center at (803) 736-3110 or 1-800-272-0695. Visit our Security Center for more information on how to protect yourself and your identity.