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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.

Scams

656 Comments


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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 ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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.

delhiuser
December 02, 2016
got a fake call from +915bab !!!!
moon
December 03, 2016
repeated calls from this number . . . +1 408-834-4451
sharon
December 09, 2016
I got a call telling me i owe a payday loan, funny never ever did that either, anyway he gave me his name and bank info to deposit 900.00 dollars. add this number...347 384-4053. I had recorded all of the conversation then sent it to my daughter for her to report it. She works where it can be done .
Buddha49
December 15, 2016
Most of the time these scammers use delisted phone numbers. How do they get a list of delisted phone numbers? No doubt the phone companies sell them their recently delisted phone numbers. THE INCOMPENT FTC MUST BEGIN TO STOP THIS PRACTICE!!!
Concerned Citizen
January 09, 2017
This is wonderful, but what is the government doing about this? Isn't it fraud or attempted fraud?
PA-Idiot
January 31, 2017

In reply to by Concerned Citizen

There so many fraud and scams going on and the FTC does have finite amount of personal and resources to go around, this is the reality, and these scammers and fraudsters can take months to a couple of years to build a case against them and if they are overseas it makes it more difficult to get arrests and prosecute, and in some countries it is a minor offense and the people who are arrested are let go with a small fine and they are back at it within a few days. It is sad but all we can do is try to keep warning others and protecting ourselves with common sense.
iHateSpam
January 16, 2017
At the end there it says report it to the FTC or FCC. So, what, I give them the spoofed phone number? What will they do with that?
PA-Idiot
February 17, 2017

Today I got a call from saying they were from the Federal Government, immediately I knew it was a scam because no one who calls from the Federal Government do not say that they say which Department they are from (IRS,FBI,FTC,of education, of Commerce, etc) and the first time the number (917)117-1311 well he(Mario Stevens or Stephens) was saying about giving me a grant then when I got him angry(I am very good at pissing people off) he started threatening me with calling the police on me and having me arrested. So I set the phone down and ignored him. After a couple minutes he gave up and hung up, immediately another call came in from number (585)296-1630 and I answered it low and behold it was the same voice who I also told not to call me again, so I set the phone down without talking to him, well again he kept talking and I believe I heard police again then he hung up, and immediately the same number called again and I did the same thing answered and set it down but he immediately hung up when there was no answer. The one thing these scammers hate more than anything is not having someone on the line and wasting their time because some of these calls are being made from overseas out of Mexico or South America and even Asia, and what they do is use internet phone numbers which can be set to any area code you would like, because the numbers are available are listed on there. When you call it comes up as that number even if you are calling from Ghana. These scammers are predators and should be treated as severely as any predator even the child predators.

No Use
January 31, 2017
With the spoof software a person can put in any number they want to show up on a caller ID. It doesn't even have to be a real number. I've gotten calls from 000-000-0000. Block a number and they just use another random number. We need telephone companies to develop something to actually trace where a number is coming from regardless of what the bogus telephone number is. Why can't this be possible. This stuff has really gotten out of hand.
Brayla89
February 03, 2017
Add this number 214-617-9009
Bombino
February 15, 2017
Get another IRS fake call number: 8453635385
Fraudfinder
February 15, 2017
Phone number 410-479-6110 has been reported numerous times for phishing for BB&T Bank account info but appears to still be generating inquiries.
reservada
February 23, 2017
Please add this phone number 407-363-3579. calls and said something about talking to an attorney because a credit card.
Very Annoyed
February 27, 2017
8006138986 - 8443086820 - 8003600998 over and over and over again I swear they called 15 times in one day. Why why why can't anything be done about it?
Larry
February 28, 2017
Just received a ROBO call FROM MY OWN NUMBER wanting the last four digits of my social security number! BE CAREFUL!
ASpatula
March 02, 2017
Add 585-250-1552 to the list - my employer just received a call/message from this number claiming to be the IRS putting out an arrest warrant for trying to commit fraud and telling him to call to take care of it immediately. What a load of sh*t! He's also gotten two calls in the last week saying theres been a "claim filed against him" and that "(this) is his official warning that (he's) been served and action will be taken against (him) in (his) county of residence if (he) doesnt contact the number and resolve the case immediately" - its so creepy hearing the recordings of these calls! Ain't nobody got time for that!
Don't believe …
March 02, 2017
I just received a call from 909-918-5509 and they left a message saying I was to call to cooperate with them about a federal criminal offence and appear in front of a judge of the grand jury.
BingoDon't use…
March 04, 2017
Nobody needs to get on POF they are scammers on there too.All of POF is a scam so don't get on it.
they tried
March 05, 2017
Received a call from 404-201-6957..caller id identified it as ATT service center...normally I do not answer but I did this time. The person tried all he could to get me to say yes..unfortunately I did say yeah and hope this will not be used to commit fraud..trying to sell me another package on my service...
DONTDOIT
March 06, 2017
GOT A CALL SAYING THERE WAS AN AGRIVATED COMPLAINT AGAINST ME AND MY STATE..(HAHA REALLY???_ SAID I MUST CONTACT THEM IMMEDIATELY.THEY LEFT A CASE NUMBER AND A PHONE NUMBER..THIS WAS DEFINATELY A SCAMMER THAT KNEW WHO I WAS. THEY SAY THEY ARE FROM OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS 512-582-8155 FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE
OSCAR
March 15, 2017

+47 7889 80 08 is the tel. number use by Scammer alexius feliciano, Sr.human resource generalist of Viva Ellenor Inc.Norway, with the cooperation of CLAYLAND TRAVELS PERSON IN THE NAME OF ALICIA MILAN (ASST. MANAGER,NORWAY),FATI NADINDIN OF PORTUGAL.

iimram
March 22, 2017
I received a call from a number that is same as CCSU police station, New Britain, CT. The person left a voice mail saying he is a detective, has arrest warrant for me and asked me to surrender. He also mentioned another number which is also a registered police number however, did not advise me to call up but wanted me to surrender. I'm sure that person doesn't even know my name. After looking up in the interest, it appears that it is a scam too. Please be aware of such calls.
Bad Manners !!
March 24, 2017

Greetings from the UK. Had a call today.. "I am from Windows." "No you're not" "I am from Windows there is a fault with your computer" No, you are a scammer after my money" "I am frm.." "Piss off " "You have very bad manners" "Piss off clown" That seems to work

MeMe123
March 24, 2017

My husband recently rec'd a call from MY cell number, the thing was MY CELL PHONE was turned off at the time and not even on.....HOW is this possible? Called Verizon to complain they say there is nothing that they can do, just don't answer the phone......So they are telling me that I shouldn't answer my phone when my husbands calling me (or at least I think he's calling me or vice versa)....Since we have become a technical/digital age this stuff happens when it shouldn't.

Stop the scammers
March 24, 2017
708-202-0169 -This person is a Fraudster they pretend to be a family member to get money the old Granny Scam so don't fall for it, they typically buy a throw away cell phone and pretend to be a relative to get money. When the victim falls for the fraud they dump the phone number and get a new one with a new number. Very sick people sitting around reading obituaries to see who they can scam, report them to the FBI. Please tell the elderly do not answer the phone if they don't know who it is
Gary
March 27, 2017
Add this number to the list - 323 529 8924
Mohammad
March 29, 2017

Hello sir, i am gtting continously blank calls from internet number and the location is showing diffrent countries of US. The person calls me and when i receive the call nobody says anything and the call automatically gets disconnected in 10-20 seconds. I have gone through many reviews but none of them got this problem. Please help me and if someone is getting same problem then please tell me what to do. I am really very afraid of this. Thank you

FTC Staff
March 29, 2017

In reply to by Mohammad

Sometimes scammers use a computer program to make telephones call many people at the same time.

However, there are only a few scammers working together to make the calls. When many people answer the phone calls, the scammers talk to a few, and can't answer the others. Your phone  rings, but when you pick up, the scammer is busy talking to someone else, and you don't hear a voice. Eventually, the call will disconnect.

pasta
April 05, 2017
please add this number to scam list 1-844-322-8368
hunter88
April 05, 2017
Just received a call from unknown Chinese with caller +00 anyone have experience the same scenario?
beware
April 11, 2017
beware of these numbers claiming u have an IRS claim 1-601-429-0952 Vicksburg, MS 1-646-663-6073 New York, NY
V mom
April 13, 2017
(551) 223-1202 Just got an animated call from this number saying it was my last chance the IRS was filing a lawsuit against me.
LoneGunMan
April 28, 2017
I got called by unknown and the phone number showing on my caller id was my own phone number. LOL!
William M.
July 10, 2017

In reply to by LoneGunMan

I received several calls from private number.I block those.Today I got a text using my first name from a 947 number.Several attempts were made to return call calls did not go through.Street gangs who set up phony websites to steal your personal information use this as intimidation tactic.Don't give these thugs any information just report the call number so others can monitor who is pulling the stunt.Report any suspicious or unknown call text or email.
Jane
April 28, 2017
Our name and phone number have been "spoofed". What can we do?
Jane
April 28, 2017
Our name and phone number is being used without our permission. What can we do???
Theresa N.
April 28, 2017
Add this number to the list...said federal government but knew it was scam have them hard time for few mins, then hung up on them, the man even told my husband that he was my ex-husband number is..(408)672-8869.
isaiahs17723
April 29, 2017
im getting spam phone calls by these fake numbers and i have already reported them to the donotcall site and put them off the hook, is there anything else i should do?
sfr
April 30, 2017
If I reported to the FTC every spam or robocall or telemaerketing call I get, I wouldn't have time to do anything else. Often 3-5 a day, even though I block all unfamiliar numbers.This is on my landline, which has an answering machine. I never answer unfamiliar or unidentified numbers, and of course they never leave a message. I really wish the govt would do something about this. I'm retired, home all day, and it's extremely annoying.
mrdoc
May 01, 2017
My cell phone number and my name have been used to show up on a persons caller ID when I did not make the call. What can I do to stop it?
Scared
May 02, 2017
I receive a robo call from 719-387-0329. Informing me that is a legal actiob pending againist me. That if I do not call back to resolve the situation. Legal action will be taken againist me. That I will be arrested by the local cokes. I think they were tring to say cops. Of course I did not call back.I am sure it is a scam.I have blocked the number on my phone. Has anyone else received a call like this?
davidR
May 05, 2017
I keep getting a call from James Milford using a voice over IP (518) 313-6791 claiming to be with my bank and needing my logon info (username & password). The number he is using is in Albany NY but he lives in Tampa Fla. DO NOT TRUST THIS GUY, HE IS A REAL SCUMBAG
MHolmberg
May 17, 2017

I received a phone call from a New York number +1 (646) 396-8331 which was a recorded message saying there's been an arrest warrant out for me from the IRS! I've also received other phone calls from weird numbers I don't answer if it's not someone I know... Other Numbers - New York - +1 (212) 345-6738 Seattle Washington - +1 (206) 693-4360 And my favorite: Unknown - +1 (888) 10

Fed up
May 09, 2017
I get occasional calls - well, they'll be frequent over a period of time, and then will stop for a while - it's usually the same female (older sounding, gruff, slight southern dialect maybe) stating "this call is intended for" and then a robot/recorded male voice states my former name, not my actual name. Then the female continues, "we have received complaints in our office. You need to call us (some number not matching caller's number) to get this matter resolved" Sometimes they actually go as far as providing a "case number" or "file number". The woman tries to sound angry or aggressive. I've received these calls on my cell as well as my land line. I never call the number they provide, but I sometimes call the number they called from (using my work phone because it does not show my extension on caller ID). Sometimes someone answers and when I start asking questions, they hang up or tell me "this call is ending" and they hang up. The calls stop for a couple days, then start again - from a different number! Had there really been complaints they would have mentioned the specifics, or identified themselves as a law office (sometimes they do, actually, or make OT sound like it is). I've never had any real complaints from anyone, nor have I received anything from an actual, legit law office. When I get suspicious bunk mail, itchiest right in the shredder.
Grams
May 09, 2017
Add this number to the list: 206-429-7128 washington. I am a Canadian citizen being threatened that the IRS will be on my doorstep within 30 minutes if I don't comply with their demands, however they never did tell me what the demands were. The person I spoke to said his name was officer John Smith, however he had a very foreign accent that lead me to believe his name was not real. To date no IRS officer has showed up at my door.
Sassy Pants
May 10, 2017
I've had my own number come up on caller ID. I've learned that when my own area code comes up with my prefix, it is a spoof! I don't normally answer it. I have occasionally answered just to see if I could find out a good call back number to report it. It's always the same, I'll connect you with my supervisor after you answer a few questions. But today, I did a "flash dial" just to see if it would be routed to the scammer. It wasn't. Isn't there some way for the FTC to put an end to these scammers?
No More
May 11, 2017
Yesterday I had a call that come up on my landline phone from caller ID BATH TOWELS the number was 619-305-2221 today same caller ID BATH TOWELS but the number was 281-306-2543 I never answer these types of calls. I get private callers and calls from different states every day at least 5 times a day. Should I report to the FCC or something? Thanks
FTC Staff
May 23, 2017

In reply to by No More

Yes, you can report the calls to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Enditplease
May 11, 2017
Our town has been hacked. I say town cause EVERYONE who owns a cell phone has had number used/ spoofed. Someone is calling people saying congratulations yor family has a free weeken trip to Mariot hotels resort . If you accept press1 want removed press 2. I have reconized numbers. Called number as soon as I hang up and that friend answered. I tell them your number has ben spoofed now.
thelatesttrap
May 18, 2017
Today, I my caller ID picked up Apple, Inc. and a legitimate telephone number for their(Apple's) media helpline. I didn't answer the call because it seemed rather suspicious, since I don't own any of their products. Instead, I called Apple's consumer service number from their website. And, the employee told me that it was indeed a scam to get me to answer the phone so that I would allow them to take over my computer. Therefore, if you see the Apple name on your caller ID, DO NOT pick up the phone. The number is (408)974-2042.