Late last week, a Spokane resident found his phone inundated with calls from people claiming they had just missed a call from him.
The man, who wishes to go by only Mike, explained, “I started telling them it wasn't me! I did not call you.”
Finally, one of the callers informed him of the scam.
Mike explained, “he said 'I've heard of this scam and they are using your number to cover their number.'”
It's called 'phone spoofing,' and is used to trick people in to picking up phone calls they otherwise would not. It also helps scammers get around the Do Not Call registry.
It's often effective because we are used to not picking up calls from numbers we don't know outside of our area and country, but local calls are less likely to raise suspicion.
"It's hard to understand when you're trying to tell someone that the scammers are covering up their number with my number to protect themselves," said Mike.
He wants to warn residents to be cautious about picking up unfamiliar local numbers, as each person who received a call from his number had a Spokane area code.
To avoid falling victim to a phone spoofing scam, The Federal Trade Commission warns to:
- Never give out or confirm your personal information
- Never wire money or send money using a reloadable card to someone who calls out of the blue
- If you feel pressured to do either of these things, hang up immediately.
If it's your phone number that being spoofed; block incoming calls or change your voicemail temporarily, explaining in short what is going on to any potential recipients of these calls. If calls persist, you may need to change your number.
“I've had this number for 28 years. Its inconvenient now but it would be twice as inconvenient if i had to change my number,” said Mike.