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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.

Proton235
August 22, 2017
Add this number to your list it is a ring and dash number I think we have been getting a call from 1-240-503-0423 ring twice than they hang up on our end we have never answered and we never call back. Since we have never call back and they only ring twice were sure it is a ring and dash hoping at some point that we will call back. We don't know this number so we don't call back and today we finally added the number to both phone reject files.
JustAnotherAne
August 22, 2017
Been on the 'do not call list' since 2003 last time I answered one of these "local" calls, I was told 'you can report me and be on every list you want I am out of the states and I can call you whenever and however many times I want and there is nothing you can do about it.' then promptly started chain dialing my number upon hanging up. Ended up taking phone off the hook
jacob
August 24, 2017
this scammer called claiming to be Microsoft trying to get money to fix my computer their number is 1 844 203 0065, sand 1844 622 1090
sm
August 25, 2017
Still going on today -- Aug 25, 2017. Congress should pass a law making this a federal offense.
Penguinn
August 28, 2017
This is beyond unacceptable. The technology is such that the systems KNOWS the Caller ID information DOES NOT MATCH the number of the line originating the call. Why do they not stop the call at that point? Why are the telecommunications companies complicit in these frauds? If they do not block these calls system-wide, they should give individual consumers the option to BLOCK ALL CALLS WITH MISMATCHED ID INFORMATION. Enough is enough - and we are about a decade past that point.
Skycam
August 28, 2017
Got about 8 calls today from the same area code and same three digit number but each time the last four was different..if I didn't answer the call they would not leave a message.. I did answer it once and all I could hear was a lot of people talking and couldn't understand them.. when I do call the number back it says not in service
MrsN
August 31, 2017
I have been getting calls from other people telling me I just called them, when in fact I did not call them, so I am assuming someone is scamming my phone number. For several months I was receiving scam calls from my area code, and they were fake government officials, etc. so I stopped answering them, but they have been so persistent that I have been blocking each number that they use. I now have a list of about twenty or so numbers. The calls are not as frequent now, but they still call, and I just don't answer. If they are legit they will leave a message on my voicemail. I am just so tired of people trying to make money from scamming honest, hard-working people. Too bad they can't get a real job and earn an honest living.
WellSub
September 08, 2017
I received 4 straight phone calls to my landline from a Buffalo, NY area code number last night around 8:00. Obviously no message left when I didn't answer. Then, got woken up around 12:30a or so to another call from a local number, with a name, Diane Browne. Few minutes later, another call from a different name and number. Checked the missed calls to find out that we received 4 numbers between 11:40p and 1:00a, which utterly ridiculous. We have 2 young children, as I'm sure many of you other folks do as well. But even if we didn't, I'd still be furious that spam calls are now occurring at all hours of the night.
thomte
September 15, 2017
Screw with them.keep them on the line if you have time.I did that for 10 minutes and pissed the guy off.no more calls from them
Anoying in maine
September 19, 2017
Some unknown spoof caller has setup a computerized calling routine on my smart phone where by every few minutes I receive calls from different numbers all over the country using anonymous random phone numbers. Is there any way to stop this very irritating scam from continuing. Since around 11:30 AM today my phone has rung with more then 150 robo type calls that go to my voice mailbox.
BurritoChamp
September 22, 2017
Keep getting calls from Indians claiming to represent DSHS and wanting to complete information about my medical enrollment (?) Use contact details for my address / location that I know are fraudulent. Call center, very noisy. I wouldn't confirm, told them they needed to stop calling me and that their claims and offers made no sense. They specifically wanted to know who my primary care physician was. Creepy. They escalated to a more English-speaking 'supervisor', who proceeded to try to obtain the same details. I refused. He finally gave up, called me a jerk and said that he didn't have time for this, said that I shouldn't pick up the phone. When I returned the call it was to a legit number in TX, guy answered and said hello, this is Danny. Obviously they spoofed the Caller ID too. Very clever.
Rohit
September 22, 2017
I getting calls from people that I called them, what should I do?
FTC Staff
September 28, 2017

In reply to by Rohit

You might be getting those calls because a scammer is using technology to make your number show up on other people's caller ID when he calls them.

People see your number, and call back out of curiousity. You could use your answering machine for a while until the calls stop.

James
September 24, 2017
I have been getting calls from the medical, hospital, doctor's, drug stores, ECT! I know they are spoofing the numbers most of the time, but I deal with my doctor, Hospital and drug stores! I have to answer! If my hospital, doctor's or drug stores call I need to find out what they need! Now I have to put up with some SOB trying to sell this credit card reduced rates, solar panels ECT! I have tried to report them, but to who? All these places want names,times ECT! I get a least 4 to 5 calls a day! I know I can not be the only person this is happying to?? Why can they not have a number or short form to feel out? Most of all why can these calls not be stopped without me having to pay a arm and leg for some device that really does not stop them WE NEED HELP!
Person
September 29, 2017
Getting calls from local area code but the 3 digit prefix, 147, does not exist in this particular locale. They're obviously spoofing the caller ID. It is a recording but its also very evident that a live person is listening as "Jeremy" proceeds to tell you that you have recently inquired about a "medical brace" then he asks if that is correct. More obvious is that the idiot is trying to get you to respond...more than likely to get your voice or a positive "Yes" which now you have given approval for charges to your phone. If you get a phone number with the last eight digits being 147-8969, do not answer!!!!!!!
Hacked-off
October 02, 2017
I get these calls regularly, even on my USDA phone at work... The worst and most cynical incident was a call requesting money for families of deceased policemen. I confronted the caller, who referred me to his supervisor. I told him not to call me again, and to use his intel to acquire my address send mailers about what his org does if he wants my donation. The call was from a local number with a name attached in the caller id. Was it a scam? Would a police family relief org do this? In this time of pressure on police departments it is sad that there is another challenge to credibility. A perfect storm of bad exposure for people who only encounter police officers at parades and festivals.
Chucky Cheese
October 02, 2017
I had a scam call one time & the caller id had my name & number!!!!!!!!!!!
bj
October 02, 2017
I have opt out of a lot of mail and still get so much mail and still get a lot of unwanted mail in my mail box just know that it is a shame you have to pay dma money to get your name off a list that you never asked to be added to.I think you should not have to pay for this serice.
Tammy G
October 04, 2017
I received several calls from this number saying they were the IRS saying there is a warrant for my arrest .The number is 1-229-598-1755 they tell you to call back and I tried it and it won't ring so it's a scam
Kat
October 04, 2017
So your answering machine picks up the phone and now they know it's an active number. No matter what, we as consumers are fighting a losing battle! Most of the calls are dead air. What happens when your answering machine gets full? What happens when you're waiting for a very important call that you have to answer? Why should we pay for this?
fedup
October 14, 2017
Early morning call! This morning my phone rang at 4:36 am, waking me from a sleep, I answered it because I didn't want to wake the house and because it could have been a sick freind or family member. Of course it was scam, robo voice said "Hi, this is Todd from the fullfillment center and want to tell you your fullfillment care package is ready"... I looked at the caller ID and hung up. NOT HAPPY! I usually get 4 or 5 scam callers a day, I have an answering machine and block the ones I don't know, but calling at 4:36 in the morning is too much! My message on my ansewring machine states if "If you are calling to sell me something, want a donation, or tell me I've won a cruise, take me off your list, otherwise leave a message." I'm on the do not call list on home and cell phone, but it doesn't work. How can we get rid of these callers?? Or better yet Sue them?? Fedup
Sunny Beach
October 18, 2017
Add: 301-885-9511
WRC
October 23, 2017
I just received a call on our land line with a caller ID of our local hospital. I answered immediately thinking someone was hurt or worse. No. It was some company selling home security systems. This is getting really low.
grhans
October 23, 2017
Spoofers in Grand Rapids, MI are using actual cellphone numbers to call you like 10x in a day for auto warranty junk. They use active numbers and seem only to ramp up the calls if you opt out.
AF
October 30, 2017
312-788-9341 and other numbers close to it keeps calling. Every time I say hello they hang up. They now have a robocall. Saying it's the government.
ramdogram
November 08, 2017
1-844-258-9620 calls a relative of mine trying get info then tell them to have me call number and give a reference number. Call they say is this so and so. Trying to get you to say yes. and after I stated how can I help you they want personal info to verify was me. I laughed said not that dumb.
Nice try
November 27, 2017

In reply to by ramdogram

Just got a call from this same number and gave me a number and reference number to have me give when I'm available. Said they need to verify a good time to drop off a certified letter put of my county. I havnt lived here long enough to receive anything certified.
txspyder
November 09, 2017
Just a note on compiling any list of numbers: Other than the fact that a given number may be may in frequent use for a while and may be recognized by others who have been called by the same scammers, the number that appears on your caller ID has no relationship to the calling party or to any actual telephone service. It is generated by computer software, and can be set to any value that the scammer chooses. Keeping a list of numbers is kind of pointless, as numbers that are blocked too often will simply be changed to something else.
PJC
November 13, 2017
Well they are at it again!!! Just got a call and voicemail 2 different times today from 202-239-8713 Washington, DC. When I called they back I said the government doesn’t make calls . They told me I was a liar and I was gonna go to jail.
Judi
November 13, 2017
I get call from scammers using phone numbers belonging to my neighbors this problem has been reported but phone company says there’s not much they can do being these calls are made by computer . As high tech as we are today I think something could be done about it they just don’t care they won’t even take care of the telephone lines anymore if the phones service gets interrupted it’s days before they repair it . I don’t want scammers using my number to get other people’s private information.
Judi
November 13, 2017
I get call from scammers using phone numbers belonging to my neighbors this problem has been reported but phone company says there’s not much they can do being these calls are made by computer . As high tech as we are today I think something could be done about it they just don’t care they won’t even take care of the telephone lines anymore if the phones service gets interrupted it’s days before they repair it . I don’t want scammers using my number to get other people’s private information.
MJB
November 15, 2017
I get scammers calling using local cell phone numbers and they are blocked but when I call the number back the person who really owns that line will answer and act surprised.
Lisap
November 29, 2017

In reply to by MJB

Its not an "act" when we get these calls from the people getting scammed. The scammers are using our numbers. It doesn't help that when the people who are getting scammed call us they are rude and swear at our receptionists. We try to explain whats going on and they swear at us and then hang up.
JimmyJim
November 15, 2017
Don't even bother adding #'s to these lists! These guys rotate thru numbers so they don't get caught. And the DNC list???...Ummmmm, these guys are scammers and don't obey DNC laws!!! DUHHHHH!
HEYRON
November 27, 2017
THE DO NOT CALL LIST IS A JOKE. THESE PEOPLE CONTINUE TO CALL ON A REGULAR BASIS.
Merry Glow
November 29, 2017
Keep getting phone calls three four times a day from 386 575 9700 they never leave a message and this has been going on for months. How can I stop this.?
Lisap
November 29, 2017
You can block the number or have your phone company block it - AT&T told us they know about it and there is nothing they can do - they are "working" on it but figure by the time they find who is using our number, they will move on to another number.
Zenozad
November 30, 2017
caller ID shows 202-792-7565. Called my cell phone (on do not call list). Leaves message saying, "You are being summoned to a federal grand jury. Help us help you. Please call 202-792-7565."
Dana Tran
December 03, 2017
I got 3 prank calls in two days and it is the same caller but he uses a slightly similar phone number. WHAT DO I DO?????
Maggie
December 05, 2017
What about a person texting his number as someone else? So that you will answer. Is that legal?
LM
December 06, 2017
Got a few calls that come up on caller ID as the Local hospital. Not cool.
AMY
December 07, 2017
I got a call and it had the number of our county court office. The message said to call 844-424-6214. Total bill collector scam!!! They have called before trying to scam me. The only reason I called was because it came from our county office. THIS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL!!
Greycat
December 10, 2017
I am another victim of phone spoofing I reported several times my landline Also my cellular. One caller insulted me.I have the recording.
Heather
December 14, 2017
This is a new one for me...got a call on my cell in the middle of the day from my husband. When I answered it was NOT my husband and was someone wanted to sell security systems. I've had a lot of junk calls "local" numbers but this is the first time it's been an actual contact.
aaa
December 20, 2017
add 202-897-0530
sgtCalton
December 22, 2017
This is a scam. Do not answer. Once they realize it’s a working number they will not stop calling you. (423) 281-5490‬
Ned
January 05, 2018

SCAM ALERT 315-233-5920: This is the public number of the Apple Store in Syracuse NY, but it's being caller-ID spoofed by scammers claiming your iCloud account has been breached and asking you to call back a different, toll-free number, or stay on the line/press 1 for a "support adviser". This is a scam to access your computer or gain personal information. Do not answer, do not return the call, do not call number in message. Call ID says: 315-233-5920 Apple Store in Syracuse NY, being caller-ID spoofed Call type: Scam

Sky
December 27, 2017
+78401360021 i get too much calls from this number... And its really annoying.. Is it a scammers number.. AND how they get my number
Tired of robo
December 27, 2017
Answer the spoof calls with the name of a business. They will remove u from their list. It will take a while, but I started this a few weeks ago and already see fewer calls.
Tired of robo
December 27, 2017
Answer calls with a company/business name. I started doing this a few weeks ago and already see fewer calls.