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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.
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  • 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.

India
December 27, 2017
+519 26011310 unknow sends you messages in whatsapp
pnoidnc
January 10, 2018
i got a call and answered it was a prerecorded message allegedly from my cars leasing company. i called the number back immediately, and it was a sweepstakes. my biggest question is, how do they know who you do business with?
Blossom
January 10, 2018
I keep getting phone calls from my area code and then 407 numbers. I "answered" one (not saying anything) and was forwarded to an obvious call center in another country, but I tried calling back and was actually calling another person. Like some girl picked up and got really upset when I didn't answer back to her. I keep blocking numbers left and right and I have a Google pixel so if it's been reported as a scam number it'll pop up saying such. I just think that the whole number being the same minus the last 4 digits and being sent to another person and not a call center is extremely weird and figured I'd see if it's happened to anyone else.
Facebook
January 14, 2018
Hi my name is edna and this 843_507_0304 wanted me to aend money to Africa and said i would go to jail for porn but i dont do that stuff
Jay
January 16, 2018
The robocallers have won. They spoof a different number every single time so it is pointless to report the numbers and to put them in some scammer database.. I’ve tried the robocall blocking apps, but they cannot block a spoofed number so the apps are pointless as well. Donotcall registry doesn’t help either. My cell number has been on the registry since 2009 and I still get 3-5 robocalls a day from a spoofed number. I feel like my phone has been taken hostage and I have no recourse at all. Nobody is helping us.
Brockzbabe
January 17, 2018
So I see that u can receive scam calls from random area codes and numbers, but What I need to know is can they pull a number from your phone using it to pretend that they're someone u know like a family member? Because ive been getting really strange phone calls from " my mom" and its definatley not her voice. They even hang up on me randomly. Is this possible and if so what should I do aboit it?
Fierfliiii
January 18, 2018
Recently have begun receiving calls from my favorites like my parents. When your dad calls you answer the phone. How do you protect yourself when the incoming call is supposed to be from a trusted caller.
Distressed in a mess
January 25, 2018
I recently received a phone call from 2027965492 saying that I won a $9000 government grant and in order to get it i had to call this number 2026963248 and give them a code. They had all my information already. Not sure if this is a scam or not and i tried to look online but couldn't find anything either. I did call the number they gave me and it rang until the end where the voicemail was not setup so obviously it's a mobile number. Why would the government have you call a mobile number... should i be worried?
FTC Staff
January 25, 2018

In reply to by Distressed in a mess

That's a scam. The government is not giving free grant money to people. 

If you call back, they might ask for your checking account number so they can “deposit your grant directly into your account,” or tell you to send money to pay a “processing fee.”  Even if you send money, you won't get the grant they promised. They will take your money and disappear. Read about government grant scams.

ThomasMagnum
January 20, 2018
Don't answer your phone calls. If it's important they will leave a message. 99 out of 100 times the scammers will not leave one.
Fa12
January 24, 2018
Is the number 888 514 1198 a scam.
Roro 187
January 25, 2018
Someone selling security services used my cell number and I got a very irate call back thinking I had called. He apologized when I explained that I had not called him. I have had several calls with caller ID showing numbers very near mine but it was solicitor calls.
ddmsr1
January 26, 2018
I had 25 calls in 30 minutes from 601-955-5480,601-955-8154,601-955-4851,601-955-8546601-,601-955-4212,601-955-601-955-5717,601-955-2636,601-955-601-955-601-955-601-955-601-955-7443,601-955-4959,601-955-8249,601-955-1682,601-955-601-955-9567,601-955-6692,5601-955-511,601-955-4414,601-955-5511,601-955-601-955-4144,601-955-8480,601-955-6134,601-955-5134,601-955-2617,601-955-7207,601-955-9446,601-955-7162,601-955-9923,601-955-5303,601-955-1147, I would block each one, even turned my phone off, turned it back and they still kept call
loveandbalance
February 02, 2018
2 numbers called twice in 5 mins.....1 561 228 4859 called and recalled in 5 mins.....came up scam likely 5 mins later 1 561 657 4458 calls, but doesn't come up as scam likely....i didn't pick up....neither left a message..... happens about twice a wk.....i'm really tired of these calls
Stalked
February 03, 2018
I am on the do not call list I have the registration for three numbers.. The number is originating from the Denver,Colorado region they call and when you call back it goes to some message stating the person calling you isn't accepting calls right now.. Scammer Number is 1-720-409-6638 do not answer or you will never be rid of them..
JF
February 03, 2018
What if your number is the one being spoofed and strangers are "calling you back" saying they got a call from you? Happened to me and my husband.
SandyP
February 06, 2018
I receive calls everyday from local numbers and long distance. 99% of these calls no one says a word. I have a land line. I am on every "Do Not Call" list available and have been for years. If we call the local numbers back they are usually disconnected numbers. I have even received calls that are showing "me" calling my own number. What really bothers me is that a neighbor ask me if I called them at 2:00 AM this morning. Their caller ID showed my name. I don't know how to report these local numbers. I don't want to report someone that may be a legitimate call. I do report calls that are long distance. We have stopped answering all calls and told family and friends to leave a message and we'll call them back. I'm going to change my outgoing message to say "all calls are screened and if you want to talk leave a message and we'll return your calls".
Nutmeg
February 07, 2018

In reply to by SandyP

I receive these type of calls daily as well and am on the NATIONAL DO NOT CALL LIST. Many of these calls have UNKNOWN NAME displayed as caller ID but their phone # displayed. No message left. If it is a reputable business then leave a message. Will not answer calls especially from unknown numbers - even then one cannot be too careful. That our phone carriers & the Federal Government won't do anything is deplorable and allows these criminals to continue scamming, identity theft, etc. Especially concerning is calls to senior citizens. So phone carriers need to do something, the DO NOT CALL REGISTRY needs to do something and customers should have the ability to block local and out-of-state numbers.
ToTo
February 11, 2018
+91 8112 518 444 scam phone number calling again and again and not talking if phone is received. Maybe planning to clone phone/number
kmeyer
February 14, 2018
Here we go again. Calls from numbers similar to my cell phone. I set them up to go straight to get blocked and go to voice mail. There is NEVER any message. The number called from was 571-334-5997. Daily, annoying calls while I am at work. I have my cell phone on for family and friends only to call if there's an emergency.
CrazyYaKnow
February 14, 2018
A call came from my x job number but thought odd because I had blocked them..so I *69 and "the last number that called can not be identified " yet he called again A few days later I had unblocked and *69 after his call and his work number played back. If" cannot be identified" yet its a listed local buisness number ..was that number spoofed ?
Bree
February 15, 2018
My elderly mother received a spam call telling her that her daughter- ME had been under surveilance by the local cops for running with a biker gang and she needed to pay them $500 or they would report my activities to the Better Business Bureau. I don't run with bikers or any gangs, and my mom figured out that this was a scam because of what they said and the thick foreign accent and the lack of knowledge of what the BBB functions as. I cautioned her about answering calls from numbers she doesn't know and to never pick up from now on.
Disgusted
February 16, 2018
The phone companies could stop robot calls. The government uses them to make money, run surveys, etc. It does no good to file a complaint. Nothing is done. They don't care. They just wag their mouths.
call me
February 19, 2018
Perhaps the man of my dreams has had his number used to call my phone. I should call these numbers back to see if the real person answers, maybe its fate, you live in the area, lets get coffee. All I'm suggesting is robocall dating may be the future.
Poodle
February 21, 2018
This was a new one. I received a phone call where the caller ID said the call was coming from the United States. No City, no other info just the United States. I have blocked this phone number for my phone.
man
February 22, 2018
2099493586. 3123400770. 6304894128. 6304894500 these number are used in india . they saying they have usa work permit and they taking money from india people
MJAma
February 22, 2018
Now they’re falsifying their ID, recently I’ve seen from LaQuinta, the Local School, the local hospital. And each time it’s a prerecorded message with some hyper enthusiastic woman’s voice about some credit card repair or cruise lines or something else. I really wish there was more to be done to them.
tom
February 22, 2018
Add (202)202-5500. Claimed to be Nancy with the Federal Treasury Dept. I threatened to call FBI and she laughed.
dm
February 27, 2018
this year 2018 call from a scammer 202-646-7902 get them a lot all of them have been foreigners talking. a couple months ago get on told me that he would have cops at my door and another on said I will come and kill you. no I don not believe a word of it and nothing happened to me please do not believe anything that this crazy people are tell you.
Don't use your…
February 28, 2018
My g mail account is being used to set up new account i want it shut down and the names are morgan brown scott Jo ROBIOT and lynsey brooke ellis please help me my husband passed i need help now
Nathalyny
March 01, 2018
This number called me and left a message numerous times saying that I owe taxes. +16232422633. I figured that it was a scammer. He had an indian accent trying to sound American. They are calling from Arizona. Please warned people. If you owe taxes, the IRS will mail you a legitimate letter saying that you do.
saskatchewan
March 02, 2018
I'm reminded of a poem with the lines, 'If called by a panther, don't anther.' If a number or name appears on your caller that you don't recognize, or from a business that you have no relationship with, don't answer. If the caller ID is your own number, don't answer. If you do recognize the name, don't answer. Let the voice mail pick up. If that person doesn't leave a message, call them back from your personal phone list to see if they called. This is not spoofing that is going on. It's criminal activity, so do what you can do yourself to protect yourself. If the FTC and FBI and other govt agencies aren't helping, talk to your senator or congressman on both National and State levels.
Blue Light
March 06, 2018
(561)397-1228 just called from a”Debt Consolidation” firm regarding my card debts. C/Wouldn’t say on behalf of which debt, how much or any other details, finally foolishly admitted it was a random call. Wouldn’t stop when asked or to never call me again!!!!
AB Indy
March 08, 2018
My own phone number is being used to make unsolicited phone calls. When a number popped up using my own prefix I answered and it was a robo call. I called it back and had a voice mail on which I could leave a message to ask they please stop calling. It is the same caller..." My name is Elizabeth and then something about a resort". At any rate I got a text at 1 AM this morning from someone who said she heard my message and that she was getting multiple solicitations from my number as well...she and husband are upset and wanted to find out who I was. I texted back I was getting unsolicited calls from her # and that I would contact AT&T and the Atty Generals office today which I am doing. AT& T told me I was a victim of # spoofing and that I could change my #s...landline over 38 yrs and my cell phone at least 16 yrs. It serves as a personal as well as work phone. I wonder how else to report this. I have gotten calls out of my area code which is 317...and don't answer those but when they are in my area code and had the same prefix I answered and now I find my # is being used in these unsolicited phone calls. This is beyond frustration.
nw58
March 08, 2018
If you are using a cell phone that uses prepaid minutes and someone uses your number to spoof a call, are they using your minutes up?
Cure for spam calls
March 09, 2018
Was having sometimes 4- 8 calls a day from scammers ,politicians, Pollsters, Telemarketers and who knows who else. I did three things which helped a lot. (1) Set my answer machine to pick up on two rings so that the caller might have to pay phone time. (2) Unless I recognize the caller or their number I let the answer machine pick up.(3) Bought a call blocker. Once a call comes, and the machine answers (or usually scammers hang up, I can press one button and that number is forever blocked (unless I unblock it). There are several available on line for around $50.00, or less. Bought mine off Ebay.
ScammerBeware
March 09, 2018
585-633-1175 Received a call this morning claiming local authorities had serious allegations against me. I called back (anonymously) and they answered "IRS". They didn't like that they could tell what number I was calling from and he was a bit hesitant to say anything. Once he started his BS story, I interrupted him and told him "Nice Try Scammer" and suggested he get a life, and I informed him that I filed a complaint on his number to the Federal Trade Commission. I HATE these LOSERS!!
DoNotCAllRegistryFan
March 12, 2018
Definitely use the Do Not Call Registry. https://www.donotcall.gov Might not take care of all spam, but will eliminate a lot of telemarketers and cut down on many of the annoying calls.
agerico2018
March 12, 2018
Please include this number 1639-395-0657 impersonating a CRA agent, she said that I involved in tax fraud and a police will come to us. He got my complete name and address. To whom should else I report this #?
Felix fadz b
March 13, 2018
What about this number . She claims to be in Canada. Quebec. +1(805) 475 7086
Concerned in Alabama
March 23, 2018
What do you do if you find out your cell phone number is being used for a scam? I recently received a phone call and when I answered they hung up. So I called them back and the lady explained she has received phone calls from my number from a person trying to sell her insurance or other various things. I know it wasn't me or anyone using my phone, So what do i do now?
Lulubear2015
March 26, 2018
Do not buy carrara acoustics its a scam product made probably is from Texas and there is different brands at least 3 fake brands darby,alexa and carrara do not buy this brand from $100 to 2500$
JHall211
March 28, 2018
I received a call from 202-552-1518 leaving a message that only says something about an arrest warrant. I know this is bogus as a 70 year old woman without even a traffic ticket, I know this is not for me. So I think it is a bogus call trying to get my information or something, but I am not going to call them back.
yellowhair
March 29, 2018
live in Oregon, repeated calls from 206 286 6745 and 206 805 6875, these are never answered since we are using VoIP service....
whistlers mother
April 02, 2018
I have a new item I have been using for the calls I am deluged with. I say hello once and wait. After a few minutes, the guy from windows, the IRS, Apple and all the others say hello. I play along, go out on my porch and blow on a large whistle as hard as I can in too the phone. I haven’t had a call from a couple of the scammers in about a month. It is self satisfying to be uncharacteristically nasty to these lowlifes.
Uahttam
April 07, 2018
A week ago I received a message including a link with message saying I should deposit my money right away, so I wondered if it was a scam like one I've once got before and I reported that one took care of it, but now this number +1 613 618 4008 sends me this scam again with an area code of country I live in (Canada). The point is if you see unusual messages report them, they could be a scam or a hack. Ignore what it offers you, it's a trick to steal your financial info every data and access, they can steal your money, it is something you should take action on immediately, not ASAP.
Shay
April 09, 2018
scam number ..be aware of 1518-593-4351 edward bartley he calls himself
dj
April 09, 2018
I have had my own phone number show up on caller Id and have calls from other people convinced that I keep calling them, because some jerk spoofed my number. I have a good call blocker, and have probably 800 to 1000 numbers blocked and they just keep creating new numbers, and I never answer the ones that get through. I guess the next step is to just have the phone service terminated, which I have been against doing.
richz
April 11, 2018
I've received robocall with spooked / face Caller-ID data. In the most-recent case, the Caller-ID was a residential number. How can anyone stop these scam calls and spoofing Caller-IDs?
jacquem
April 13, 2018

I have received NUMEROUS phone calls over the past couple of weeks from phone numbers with my area code back home in Michigan. Right now, I am staying in Houston. However, the calls are different numbers every time. Once I answered, it was a robocall about Marriott vacations. Another couple of times, it was about Last Chance warranty offer on a car I never owned. I called back several numbers, and I always get a disconnected number message every time...even minutes later. I have received calls from several people in the same area code noting they were calling back and had missed a call from my number; I had not called them. I told them about what I was experiencing, and we agree that someone is fraudulently SOMEHOW using other people's numbers in the same area code as ours to robocall, and it prevents a caller from being able to report the number as the person who has the number is not making the calls and has no idea it is happening with their number. How do we report this...I am on the National Do-Not-Call Registry, yet I cannot report these calls, and I am tired of them.