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Your phone rings. You recognize the number, but when you pick up, it’s someone else. What’s the deal?

Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they are someone local, someone you trust – like a government agency or police department, or a company you do business with – like your bank or cable provider. The practice is called caller ID spoofing, and scammers don’t care whose phone number they use. One scammer recently used the phone number of an FTC employee.

Don’t rely on caller ID to verify who’s calling. It can be nearly impossible to tell whether the caller ID information is real. Here are a few tips for handling these calls:

  • If you get a strange call from the government, hang up. If you want to check it out, visit the official (.gov) website for contact information. Government employees won’t call out of the blue to demand money or account information.
  • Don’t give out — or confirm — your personal or financial information to someone who calls.
  • Don’t wire money or send money using a reloadable card. In fact, never pay someone who calls out of the blue, even if the name or number on the caller ID looks legit.
  • Feeling pressured to act immediately? Hang up. That’s a sure sign of a scam.

Want more tips for avoiding scams? Check out 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud.

If you’ve received a call from a scammer, with or without fake caller ID information, report it to the FTC and the FCC.


It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

May 16, 2016
Has anyone received telemarketing calls that spoof your own area code? For instance, my phone has area code 206. I received a recent flood of telemarketing calls after requesting a financial quote from agencies using area code 206, but who definitely were not located there. One caller just fessed that it was simply routed that way.
May 19, 2016

In reply to by Kim

Yes, all the time. I no longer answer if I don't recognize the name of my caller on the caller ID.
May 17, 2016
I received a call today from 995-594-4088....No one would answer me....Looked the phone number with White Pages Reverse Phone such area code exists.
May 19, 2016
I just got a call from a credit card scam and they are using my own phone number the caller ID had my bane and number on it I expected to get a busy signal since it was my number. It was a credit card scam. I contacted both the FBI and FTC about it and told them someone is using my home phone for credit card scam. It was a recording to hit 1 on your phone dial to talk to then didn't give a call back number since if anyone called my number they would get me not them. Both the FBI and FTC said it is a spoofing scam. My number is unlisted and can't even be giving out by an operator and they still got it I was told they use a computer to do this. I called my phone service and wanted to change my number but they said it wouldn't solve the problem because they use a computer to find active numbers to use. How can we protect ourselves from this. Plus it happen before and a lady seeing it was a local number dialed it and got me at home. I told her to report someone is using my number and I called the FBI and FTC and phone back then. Now it has happened again only this time they actually used it to call me using my number on the caller ID. I asked how would my phone ring if they are using my number. I am not a computer expert and I don't know how this can be done. I am a senior citizen I don't understand why something can't be done about it.
Frustrated Two…
May 26, 2016

In reply to by Marine232

They did the same thing to me, called me back with my own number on the caller identification but they were looking for the previous owner of my phone number.
a helpful guy
February 09, 2021

In reply to by Marine232

you can call your own mobile not sure about landlines tho
May 19, 2016
Had several calls from Washington state claiming to be IRS -- when I returned their call asked for their name and badge number (per the IRS page) - they hung up. Don't be fooled by the clowns and ask your phone service to block them.
May 19, 2016
You would think the government could trace the numbers and make some arrests (if they really wanted to do so) - but we know how that goes and how our tax dollars are wasted.
May 19, 2016
Call today from 206-539-5260 told me to call immediately to get this resolved or the IRS would send someone to arrest me. Then told me to have a Blessed Day. LOL
May 19, 2016
I just got a call at 12:45 EST from 760-542-2207 Vista, California I am located in Charles County, MD 30 Minutes south of Washington, DC. GET THESE PEOPLE
May 19, 2016
I've received several calls this week from this number 202-602-0047 stating that they are the IRS. I asked for badge number they hung up.
call me at wor…
May 19, 2016
This person called me on my cell phone when I was at work, around 9:00 am and told me that he was from the IRS. Here is the phone number he gave me in a tape message: 1-815-927-3396 his name is Mark Smith. I have not called this number at all. But was going to email Turbo Tax an let them handle this. This person wants Tax Returns from last year and to this year. I do not have the tape recording for this call at all. How did they get my cell phone number. I never gave the cell number out at all to any Tax Place. Could this be x-employees that start this after Tax Season is over with. Just looking at the page that you have here, it looks like that is what they are doing, just because of the dates of the complaints that you have so far. Are they doing this in each state each year or just picking on one state each year? Call ID should put out the ID as scam, it would be nice for the phone company to listen in on some of these calls when starting up there caller scam to make sure it is for real. But time is money to do something like this, checking on the calls coming from people like that.
May 19, 2016
I have never gotten spam calls such as the type described within these comments. Authentic calls from IRS, FBI, Interpol concerning ID theft.A call from a fake pharm with website with my insurance company. knew everything about me. I called medical insurance to verify, and they said no affiliation.
May 19, 2016
I just read this column and my cell phone rang. Caller left me a voice message that IRS were starting proceedings against me. Call back number 561-450-9085.
Shirl B.
May 19, 2016
I really do feel sorry for you people that got took by these criminals. I got so sick and tired of listening to them that I shut off my answering machine and they never leave messages. I don't even answer my pharmacy calls because I call them and I know what it going on with them. They have a long robo message that just goes on and on. I just don't answer anything unless I know the person. I have wiped my phone clean so I don't have the numbers. One was from NYC Manhattan. I do get a lot of calls from a gas co. I don't answer them either because I had them for a while and then I called ComEd and asked them why I had to have a different co. deliver my household gas. They told me they have to let them because they would be considered a monopoly if they didn't. I dropped them like a hot potato and now they won't quit calling. No one that calls ever leaves a message. I figure that if it is important they will leave a message for me. Never do though. I used to answer and put the phone down and go do something else. When they realized that I wasn't there then they would hang up. I have been hung up on the Microsoft ones. I just keep telling them I know that they're trying to scam me. They finally hand up. I'm so glad that I found this site and signed up for it. I'm not an easy person to convince to send money or give out info over the phone. I won't give out my ssn or anything to people who I should. I figure that they already have that info. My advise is just don't answer the phone. Caller ID on your phone shows something most of the time and a person can tell it isn't legit and they just are trying to sell you something or get money from you. The only reason I haven't given up my landline phone it because my kids call me on it. Now and then they will text me. I don't like cell phones. I don't have a problem with them because I never give out my number to anyone but my friends and relatives. Good Luck to all of you and after reading all of these I really feel for the people who lost money. Sad world we live in these days.
shafiqur R
May 20, 2016
Thank you very much for give information About Fraudulent.
May 20, 2016
I have not received any financial related scam calls, but I have received phone calls that say "a claim is being processed for so and so." I made the mistake of dialing 0 to talk to somebody to have my number removed because I thought it was a wrong number. These scammers then used my number to call all of these other people. I didn't realize this until my phone started ringing off the hook saying I just called them. Apparently this is fairly common because my phone provider knew exactly what was going on. Basically, these scammers are trying to find active phone numbers for which they could then use it to 'call' (make it look my number) other people. For what purpose I have no clue, but how pathetic!
May 20, 2016
latest number I am getting calls from 773--887-9225 this number at 8:05 last night and again today at 12:37. You block one number and it starts from another. I wish these people would get a real job and stop harassing people. Here's a list of numbers I have received calls or text from 617-714-0766, 703-349-7027, 804-519-8351, 617-714-0978, 540-254-0005, 773-887-9224, 407-571-3296, 773-887-9219, 757-414-7371, 571-207-6970, 855-212-3031, 386-623-2615, 732-806-3835, 408-580-0141, 580-699-8897, 484-664-1805, 757-821-2274, 311-923-5440, 248-215-0583, 813-417-0959, 219-228-6565, 540-209-0424, 862-231-2552, 217-600-2033, 973-466-0148, 206-400-7041,360-211-9633, 928-440-6850, 813-359-8662,347-502-2674, 757-419-5320, 248-755-9949, 352-279-8576, 207-554-1514, 703-659-9853, 657-251-1654, 440-635-3109, 763-401-7045, 850-447-0334, 410-297-7736, 405-779-8205, 385-265-8131, 770-900-5274, 248-755-9949, 520-335-9825, 803-339-0121, 260-201-1634, 901-646-7142, 765-734-4422, 915-208-3267, 321-427-1999,814-791-3296, 419-731-0799, 512-910-8194, 903-467-3189
June 06, 2016

In reply to by Fed-Up

here's my list of bothersome phone call--AREA CODE 310-283-8168,273-4672,463-1390,237-6837,773-4065,747-7475,747-6096,828-1877,693-4430,326-5212,441-5877,693-4430,463-9149,AREA CODE 213-985-0858,255-1143,AREA CODE 323 694-7028 ,239-7368, 800-5505, 694-6568, 239-7368, 255-3143, 276-3921, 302-1755, 317-8047-, 318-4301,350-0408,698-4473,715-7074,7227372,727-1271,821-1920,821-5151,864-5575,928-6463, AREA CODE 914 246-3014,AREA CODE 949 286-3973, AREA CODE 949 2863973,AREA CODE 906 255=6114, AREA CODE 909 285-6114,AREA CODE 951 824-1047,732-9430,852-4496, AREA CODE 989 244-9050,AREA CODE 818 638-7270,296-0006, 930-5379, 989-6539, 314-5035, 785-1301, 830-8310,555-5555,AREA CODE 469 424-2174, AREA CODE 699 863-1109, AREA CODE 408 560-1694, AREA CODE 714 776-9169, 776-8569, 463-6060, 555-7631, 5550842, 5410068, 5435327, AREA CODE 424 316-9474, 999-7297,234-7023,231-8285,234-7052,AREA CODE 805 203-0293,AREA CODE 894 904-1313,AREA CODE 989 244-9050,AREA CODE 484 541-8017,AREA CODE 562 389-6088,277-9829,273-3688,280-7946,206-2960,AREA CODE 615 657-6954,AREA CODE 619648 0993, 846-7119, AREA CODE 469 424-2174,AREA CODE 699 863-1109,AREA CODE 855 961-047, 509-2378, 731-7499, AREA CODE 702 815-2394, 546-7288,AREA CODE 216 282 0367 AREA CODE 209 463-3721, AREA CODE 202 436-9791,  AREA CODE 206, 200-3579,708-2849, AREA CODE 347 215-6325,560-5677, AREA CODE 502 210-2612, AREA CODE 504 416-9276,704-5720,AREA CODE 512 714-8520, 340-2618, AREA CODE 530 347-1396, AREA CODE

May 20, 2016
202-792-3235 IS A SCAMS , DONT FALL FOR IT.
daniel in ohio
July 28, 2016

In reply to by stefb82

stefb82, do you know what number they gave you? People keep calling me and telling me that this phone number you mention has been giving out my phone number to people saying they have a grant coming.
Really Mad
May 20, 2016
I know AT&T could stop some of this - If they would just take the time ! Very annoying !
May 22, 2016

this month i decided to fly from Somalia to Kenya in order to got my documents but i did not receive my tickets and visa the only way to block these scammers. thank you and thanks our God.

mad hatter
May 23, 2016
Ihave been phone calls from 3 different number 845-866-6418, 845-750-8163, and 203-805-9716 since Friday saying the IRS is filing a lawsuit against me, and today's call was the final notice, gosh I hope so. My phone is on DO Not Call registry, but they call anyway
Cheshire cat
May 24, 2016
Recieved back to back calls today, when i called back they did exactly what has been said on here. Insisted that I remain on the phone with them while I go to the bank and get the money then they would tell me where to go from there. I put them on mute because I thought it was a scam. Then told them I dont have a cell , the guy was rude and told me to go borrow one and he would wait. So I put the phone down next to the speaker if the tv as my son watches a kids movie. I hope they are enjoying the Avengers, and now out for 254 area code . It was different number each time but atea code never changed.
May 26, 2016
Phone rang showing "out of area" 888-320-6176 Apria. Let it go to answering machine. Message left to call them as they had sent a letter and received no reply and needed more information in order to bill insurance company. Called Apria who verified there was no contact from them.
May 27, 2016
ADD 206-823-3349 TO THE LIST
May 27, 2016
Lady called me for the fourth time today saying they were from the government wanting to give me money. I listened and than once she was finished said to be 100% honest I've received multiple calls from you can you please take me off you call list.... She said why in the heck didn't you just say so frecking Richard! You know what I'm going to keep on calling you you got that A-hole! Me I just calmly told he If she diced to keep calling I would get a lawyer and see how she likes it. She said ever swear word in the book then I hung up. Can't report the darn number because the caller id is one number short if it's truly a real number 206-746-082. If any one has a suggestion it would be great
May 29, 2016
These people should not be able to get a cell phone if they are not a citizen of the UNITED STATES that is the way they could be tracked ex-bill collector
May 31, 2016
Received a scam call this morning from 206-472-6290 with a robo call message from a Ms Scott claiming that this was a final notice from the Dept. of United States Treasury concerning a tax filed against me. Message stated to call their hot line number before this goes to federal claims court or you get arrested. Knew this was a scam since I owe no taxes. I did not respond to the call but wanted to report this offence. Their hotline number was the same number that appeared in the call ID 206-472-6290.
June 03, 2016
My mom got a call from this number yesterday and today and they left a voicemail saying that they are from the IRS and that it was a final notice. The IRS is doing a lawsuit against her and to call this number 716-473-0925 to verify case.
June 10, 2016
Just got call from this # threatening me. 719-217-5837. They left same message as ka above⬆
June 10, 2016
Just received a threatening message from 719-217-5837. The usual"we're it's,last chance to pay,yada yada
Uh oh!
June 13, 2016

+1 (206) 336-3407 Seattle, WA Called today. I asked to speak to supervisor. He said there was no need. Don't call back again, they are paid "scammers" I couldn't understand the word, so he spelled it for me.

June 14, 2016
The is becoming a serious problem.. I am on the "Do not Call List" however I still get several calls a day from automatic dialers and fake numbers..
June 17, 2016
I received this call at around 9 am today from 516-926-1253. A recorded woman's voice said it was the US Treasury calling and then some complete mumbo-jumbo about taxes and being in trouble etc. Didn't make any sense - wasn't supposed to make any sense. She actually gave me ANOTHER NUMBER I was supposed to call immediately to avoid arrest! I called back the original number and someone with an accent (not spanish, not russian, not really sure what kind of accent) answered "US Treasury". I said I just got a call from this number. He hung up. I called again and someone with a similar accent said "US Department of the Treasury". I once again said someone had called me from this number. He immediately got very angry and said I was about to be arrested. I asked what tax year this was about, and how much money. He asked for my name. I gave it to him. He made up some amount of money under %5,000. When I asked what tax year, again, he said 2011 and 2012. Of course I knew this was a scam, but wanted to get to the bottom of what they were going to try to sell me. He said "I am sending officers to your house right now!!" I said, "OK". Getting angrier and angrier he said "there's a warrant for your arrest and officers will be at your house in less than 30 minutes". I told him I looked forward to it. He hung up. Now what bothers me about this is not their harassment of me; I know this is a scam, I don't owe the IRS any money, and if I did owe them, they would not send officers to arrest me. What bothers me is that my elderly mother has gotten emails from "the FBI" etc. and called me to see if they were real. I managed to convince her they were not real. I do her taxes and if she got this call she would not have any idea if she owed money to the IRS, and might go along with it. She is 88 and getting dementia. I would hope she would hang up. This really makes me mad! Preying on people who are honest and believe everyone else is honest too.
June 20, 2016
Well we all need to get a class action lawsuit going against all voIp aka voice over Internet protocol phone companies. That's why they can't be caught the use these internet phones and make calls thru the internet today I asked for an application for a job so I could work for them. Also asked if they were using voice over Internet protocol and the person said yes
Russell W.
June 22, 2016
I live in a retirement community. I posted the scam message in the mail room. Several of the elderly believed this garbage until recently. But it's hard to keep them from responding, they are decent honest people who trust too often.
FTC Staff
June 22, 2016

In reply to by Russell W.

Thank you for sharing this information and watching out for your neighbors. You could order free print copies of information to share too, and they'll be delivered to your door at no cost. We have a series of one-page fact sheets about different scams that are designed for older adults. Order on the bulkorder site.

So Tired
June 22, 2016
Add this number to the list 603-203-0160 it came up as a cell phone out of New Hampshire. Another IRS caller claiming you owe money. I don't understand how this can be happening with all the technical advances we have. Most of these come out of India or somewhere in the Middle East. So tired of these crappy calls.
June 22, 2016
I received a call earlier on my cell phone, which was spoofed as my own number. Do I have anything to worry about?
June 25, 2016
Brianna Scott called me too- same story re tax fraud going to court or jail. Return # was 646-930-8909.
June 30, 2016

Here's another # to report: 510-443-0044. Same IRS scam saying they're suing you and that you'll be arrested if you don't pay; they also said that there is an embezzlement charge. It's a robo call---I called the number and said that I was reporting them to the authorities. They hang up as soon as you do that, or if you ask them what their REAL name is, because it's obvious that these people w/Indian/Pakistani accents are NOT named "James Brown" or "Joe Smith", "Steve Jones", etc. Ask for their badge number and then tell them that "Officer Steve Jones" isn't their actual name.

July 05, 2016

I'd like to report Notification Warehouse Center 1-800-208-4460. I've been trying for two years to get an elderly relative off direct mail databases. The only positive comment I have is that after calling 35 other businesses, at least their hold music was Chopin and Beethoven! I spoke with Patrick, who claimed the call was being recorded. He took my relative's name (didn't bother to check spelling) and zip code & glibly said done!

When I asked for clarification, he got snippy, & said he had everything. I called back and spoke with Alex. HE at least claimed the reason my relative got the post card was something else that my relative ordered from another company. Then when I asked for clarification, he got rude, & told me he didn't have to listen to me tell him how to do his job! My relative will STILL be getting these cards asking him to pay $12.95 shipping and handling for "$297" worth of jewelry. Does anyone at the FTC actually DO anything with the complaints on this board? I sincerely hope so.

FTC Staff
July 05, 2016

In reply to by StopTheJunk

The comments you put here on the consumer blog are not added to the database of formal complaints that law enforcement uses for investigations.

If you want to inform law enforcement of a problem you're having with a business, go to and file a complaint.

Caller ID and …
July 03, 2016
For the past three years, we have received a call once a year on our land line with a Caller ID that has our name and phone number. The caller never left a message. This year, I finally answered it to find out it was regarding lowering interest rates on our credit card. We don't have a credit card. The gentleman said that he would take our name and number off of their list. I felt like telling him that the name and number he's calling from is ours.
Caller ID and …
July 03, 2016
I have received calls and texts saying that I have called or texted them from my cell phone. However, I have not because I don't know these people. Do I have anything to worry about? How do I stop this activity?
FTC Staff
July 05, 2016

In reply to by Caller ID and …

This might be happening becuase a scammer pretended to use your phone number when he called or texted people. Scammers will hide the phone number they are really calling from, and make a different number appear in the caller ID of the person who gets the call or text.

If you're worried that someone has interfered with your actual phone line, you could contact your phone carrier to see if there is any unusual activity on your phone.

July 11, 2016
I honestly don't know anyone that would fall for a telephone scam. Legitimate correspondence is still done the old fashioned way,US postal service. If it's not in writing from a legitimate agency, then chances are,it's fraudulent.
July 12, 2016
6177779485 is a scam. this number is part of a team that will spoof numbers like ticketfly and get you to pay for what seem like secure transactions. they work in a 2 person system that seems disconnected to trick you and you will never get your tickets or product. i hope the ftc sees th eharm being caused to everyone and puts a stop to spoofing. do not trust your phone unless you dialed them directly. any number coming in can be fraud.