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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.

jwest
April 17, 2018
A scammer called my cell using my daughter's cell number and now we can't call each other. We have both checked to make sure we haven't blocked each other. How can we fix this?
Agent605
April 18, 2018
A resort company is using my number to call multiple people who have informed me as such. Please take corrective action: 605-641-8312
Tiffany
April 18, 2018
18442628958 claiming to have a pending case file against me told me if I don't call within 2 hours there then the case will be going into litigation
Bruce
May 01, 2018

In reply to by Tiffany

I got the Call also same number said I’m going to litigation then transferred me. Debt has been sold 20 times in 15 years she said she renewed statue of limitations .
caligirl
April 24, 2018
received a call from (646) 396-8331 number, left a robo message that I owe money and there are 4 arrest out for me.
Winnie Sue
April 25, 2018
We are getting inundated with calls to our Home Care office. the root of the number is always the same, and is at the end of the caller ID: 6314623854 - it starts out each time a bit different, but the digits tend to repeat itself..ie: 585858011631...979797011631...011011011631... the kicker is they don't say a darn word. It doesn't sound like anyone is even on the line, but it keeps up ALL DAY LONG. how can we stop this?
Calling in Queens
April 30, 2018
Now this number claims to be from Con Ed. He claims he is the "manager" and my 84 yr. old mother owes money. He had her so upset she was sick over this. Called ConEd. They were as helpful as they could be but it's a scammer and they can only note the incident.
Psb-5000
April 30, 2018
(646) 434-7113 Robo caller Claiming to be with the IRS. Requesting for me to call back their number. Within 24 hours or police will come to my home and arrest me.
ig
May 02, 2018
Ive had calls on both my cell phone and land line from people who complain that they are getting 3-4 calls a day from my phone number and to stop. Not Me making those calls. Ill have to stop answering phone because Ive been shopped.
Annoyed
May 16, 2018
You can add 8185847612 they told me I was going to be arrested if I didn't call them back irs
Geez
May 16, 2018
209-639-8044 called with different numbers and not leave any messages but change to this number, left voices message to threaten me using police academy stuffs. I don't know this person or have any contact. Crazy, please help!
mani
May 29, 2018
I latest fraud number I got is 15709873342
Dres
May 30, 2018
I just got a call from 801-616-2253. I called back and it was 911. What the hell?!?! I had to explain I was calling back a number and had no emergency.
Rodger
June 02, 2018
781-694-9000 constantly calls at least three times a day, every single day. Leaving voice messages with people talking in the background, then the line goes dead. Then a few hours later they call again saying to contact them with a code they leave in a message and to hold on for a agent.
CharlieRocket
June 17, 2018
I just received a scam call and the caller "Gail Burns" added her name to my contact list. Is that even possible?
fred
June 20, 2018
whose number is 1-727-325-6767
Lin23
June 22, 2018
I’ve gotten several calls like this : this is Mary from the John Doe electric company . There is a problem with your statement , please call us back st this number xxxx.” I called the number to tell them I don’t have John Doe Electric and I get “this number is not on service.” So now what do I do ?
Big RutzDon't …
June 23, 2018
1-281-204-0500 has called me 9 times since 10 AM today. Claims to be Apple Support with caller ID "Apple Inc".
John
July 02, 2018
IRS scam 206-928-6449
John
July 13, 2018
Scammers are using our local phone exchanges to scam us getting credit card information and steal our identities. Get them before a court, investigate them, fine them and prosecute them - JAIL TIME!!
ROWDY1
July 17, 2018
832-558-8931 -DEBT COLLECTOR, Says the name of the company is ADR, Alternative Dispute Resolution. Stated that if I was whom they were looking for asked if my DOB was......., when I would not answer and asked for the name of the Business and address they hung up on me. Very secretive and sneaky. After calling back several times I finally realized that they were a Debt Collector with a whole new or new to me anyways, line of BS. Stated that someone has filed a complaint against me, they were very careful not to say lawsuit, they say Complaint and that I was going to receive a summons stating whom, when etc.... They try to get you to agree to pay.
Gio
July 18, 2018
Have been getting several calls to my mobile number from "Unknown Caller" (no phone numbers). Is there a way to block them? Thanks in advance.
nichren
July 20, 2018
add 202 754 -8667
nichren
July 20, 2018
add 202 754 -8667
Raj
August 02, 2018
+19015631251is the fake number please don't believe.
BoeK
August 17, 2018
I'm wondering why people call back to ask why they got a call from a strange number, in this case mine. Today I received about 10 calls from every day people asking why I called. I hadn't called them but because their caller ID showed my number they took the time to call me to ask why. Do they think they have won the PCH sweepstakes? If I don't recognize the number I damn sure won't answer it. Somehow my number is being used to call people and I had one lady tell me she called the police on me. How funny is that. She is in Maine and I am in Arizona. What a hassle. Now after having this number for 15 plus years I might have to get a new one.
j12345
August 20, 2018
can a scammer fake caller-id as an international number?
whoma yibe
August 30, 2018
I just got a call from by boss (missed call). He was sitting next to me. We checked his phone, no record of dialing. His number and name showed up out of my contacts list. I am starting this investigation now.
DA
September 10, 2018
We pay for caller ID it does not ID the caller that is fraud. The service provider is allowing this to happen that is collusion. FTC Maybe the collusion runs deeper?
HT0523
September 19, 2018
Be aware of the number 202 852 0995. This morning received an IRS scam call from this number. They will tell you that the IRS has audited the last 5 years of your taxes and determined that you have intentionally miscalculated your taxes owed. DO NOT BELIEVE A WORD THEY SAY ABOUT THE ACTIONS THEY ARE GOING TO TAKE. The IRS cannot seize your assets without due process of the law. Additionally, the IRS will not request payment without first issuing a written statement.
rgarcia1979
September 19, 2018
I just received a call 8 times for. 913-417-2250. I am at work and can not answer. Then I receive a call from my mom, again working so I didn't answer. Less than a minute later, I receive a call from my sister. This time I answer because I have gone to break. It's thesaurus man who has been calling me. No name given just"so now you answer I will be at your house in 10 min and you better have your I. D. ready " the he hung up. It's scary because I called KY mom to see if she needed something (my dad passed away 2 weeks ago today) and she told me she didn't call.
don't answer
September 19, 2018
add these numbers 7205138296 719-283-9906 303-3510382, 203-4098737, 720571-4015,
lora
September 27, 2018
i keep getting calls from my own exchange number on my cell they are saying they are with sr services or reduce my credit but when you call the number back its someone that has no idea whats going on or who you are. My husband is on the other end of things getting nasty calls from women saying quit calling me he isn't! and getting nasty threats and text messages what can we do?
favor
October 03, 2018
I received a spoof call twice today. I answered, not knowing why the call was from my own number. I thought I accidentally called myself. However it was a robo call stating my MICROSOFT IP address is being used by other countries and needed to be changed. YEAH RIGHT!!! Although I hung up, I laughed. They called the wrong number TODAY!!
JUICY
October 03, 2018
I GOT A CALL 248 AM, THEN 408AM 2WEEKS AGO ON A SATURDAY 229 310 8315. I DIDN'T ANSWER U GOOGLE ALL CALLS THAT I DON'T KNOW. THEN I PUT THEM ON BLOCK. THE GUY SAY YOU SLEEP I NEED TO TALK WITH YOU I TURN RINGER, OFF B4 I GO TO BED. THAT SAD SCAMMER CALLING ME THAT LATE, I KNOW WHY BECAUSE THEY CALL ME 7 TO 10 TIMES A DAY I DON'T ANSWER SO THEY MAD. THEY FIGURE CALL ME WHEN I AM SLEEP. I STILL DID NOT ANSWER.
Jcmt72
October 10, 2018
I got a few texts from someone who got called by my number. They wanted to know who I was and why I called. I tried to be nice but they got downright hateful and threatening. I never even called.... anybody. It should be stopped before someone gets hurt.
Tiredofscammers
October 17, 2018
Caller pretends to be grandson who’d been in terrible accident. After questions, hung up. Number: 23-040-7006
JJ
October 17, 2018
SCAM saying they are Oscar Insurance 323 284 5642 saying they want you to talk to a doctor for a $25 dollar amazon gift card.
TiredofFakeCalls49
November 07, 2018
BEWARE: 415-852-4016 is a FAKE scammer number that attempts to victimize you into giving away your tax ID number!!!! Spoof calls from this number were RAMPANT to both lines!
JMall
November 15, 2018
Just received a bot call from (202)852-3973 looking for a call back to the same number saying my social security number has been revoked because it is suspected of identity theft.
Past Rocket
November 16, 2018
Beware of "canadian bus. phone book ' total scam ! 888 234 7631 , fake address and fake phone #
Waltgrace
November 19, 2018
Strange i Just got called and offered loan forgiveness, I told the scammer who sounded like she was from the us, that I didn’t have any loans, she immediately hung up on me..I called the number back and some kid answered with no idea someone was hitching a ride on his phone number, there needs to be a fix for this
cespencer7
November 25, 2018
Great tips but unfortunately these scammers are preying on people with dementia and Alzheimer who live at home with family or friends. How can we protect the elderly who don't understand what is happening? It should be illegal to change the caller id to a number that is not one you pay for and definitely not to one that is a government agency!
beebop123
December 05, 2018
spoofer called today 513 834-6197
scotty
December 12, 2018
Here's a tip: Don't answer the phone. Pick up/call right back when someone you know leaves a message/vm. Done.
Me
December 12, 2018
Add this number also. 845-444-8774 IF YOU CALL IT BACK AFTER THEY THREATEN YOUITS SAYS THEY CANT RECIEVE MESSAGES UM HELLO IF I OWE YOU SOMETHING DONT YOU WANT TO SPEAK WITH ME?
Smart then them
December 20, 2018
Easy to solve. .. normally they claim they are from some organization, country or place. Just go online and start to make question such as: what time is there? What the name of your state governor ? Who is the president, chairman of your company. ...? They go away instantly.
Sid
December 22, 2018
keep receiving calls from phone numbers from my area code. when you call back , the number is not valid
brian
January 04, 2019
You guys, posting all these phone numbers is completely missing the point. Scammers can use anyone's number they choose. You're just posting average innocent people's numbers and reporting them for no reason (those people didn't actually call you, the scammer spoofing their number did). I've found my own number reported, have never called anyone I don't know. So please think before you report a number, the person who actually owns that number more than likely did nothing wrong.
ericmoney20
January 21, 2019
Scam numbers for craigslist: 786-265-8979, 458-216-0375, 424-284-6248