|[July 15, 2014]
Caller ID Spoofing Scams on Increase
WASHINGTON --(Business Wire)--
Telephone carriers are reporting an increase in the number of unwanted
phone calls from scam artists who have figured out a way to make calls
look like they are coming from a customer's own home phone number.
Customers who have Caller ID services may be surprised to see their own
phone numbers flash on the screen, and out of curiosity pick up the
phone - only to find out it is an unwanted sales call or someone
attempting to collect personal information to attempt identity theft.
The practice is known as "spoofing," and it is illegal under federal
law. Congress enacted the Truth in Caller ID Act in 2010 to address the
problem, but unfortunately the practice continues to flourish. "We're
hearing a growing number of reports from our members that customers are
receiving these intrusive calls utilizing this deceptive method," said
Kevin Rupy, USTelecom vice president of law and policy, who
tracks problems with illegal robocalls.
"Carriers are deeply concerned about this problem and are educating call
centers to help customers who experience these calls," Rupy said. Tools
available to assist consumers vary from carrier to carrier, but many
offer customers the option of requesting that certain calls be blocked,
and some have the capability of sending unwanted calls directly to
voicemail. "Our advice is that customers check directly with their
carriers to see what's available in their service area," Rupy said.
Consumers can usually see which voice features their carrier may be
providing in their service territory by checking the company's websites.
Voice features that may be available to consumers from some of the
larger carriers include the following:
AT&T (News - Alert) U-verse: http://www.att.cm/esupport/article.jsp?sid=KB401850&cv=814#fbid=_udIV86ewq-
CenturyLink (News - Alert):
FiOS (News - Alert) Digital Voice: http://www.verizon.com/home/phone/fiosdigitalvoice/#features;
Tips for Consumers:
There are some options for fighting back against spoofers. The Federal
Communications Commission (FCC (News - Alert)) is responsible for investigating
spoofing, and customers should report incidences by calling
1-888-CALL-FCC or file a complaint at www.fcc.gov/complaints.
The FCC website also has additional information concerning spoofing at http://www.fcc.gov/guides/caller-id-and-spoofing.
To avoid unwanted sales calls, consumers can register their phone
numbers on the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC (News - Alert)) Do Not Call Registry at https://www.donotcall.gov/.
Consumers also can file complaints on the FTC's
website or call 1-888-382-1222.
The Better Business Bureau offers these suggestions if a scammer calls
Hang up. Don't press any buttons and, if you received a voice
mail message, don't call the scammer back. We all like to have the
last word, but returning the phone call may just give the con artists
information they can use.
Don't trust Caller ID. Scammers have technology that lets them
display any number or organization name on your screen.
Never give out any financial information. If you did not
initiate the call, do not provide bank account, credit card or Social
Security numbers over the phone unless you have thoroughly done your
research and verified the caller.
If you get phone service through Internet or cable, you might want to
look into services that screen and block robocalls.
See the USTelecom website for more information on spoofing.
USTelecom is the nation's premier trade association representing service
providers and suppliers for the telecom industry. Its diverse member
base ranges from large publicly traded communications corporations to
small companies and cooperatives - all providing advanced communications
services to both urban and rural markets.
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