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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.


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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.

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July 13, 2016

In reply to by michael

Scam call from Brianna Scott Dept of Treasury abt legal petition of tax fraud .. 786.233.7312.. Isn't impersonating a govt office illegal?
July 13, 2016
Just received a call from 240-252-4606 claiming they are from the US Treasury.
July 13, 2016
We receive dozens of robo calls a day. They are so good at disguising where they are calling from and will even be marked as private caller or restricted. Being a home business, we need to answer all of these calls. I have noticed a quirk on their system. When answering, if there is silence and then a click, hang up. This is the sign of a robo call. Computer has dialed your number, sensed an answer and has transferred you over to a live person. Also the newest trick is to convince you that you are in a conversation with a real human. If you think you are in a conversation with a computer, but not sure, say something really random, like "oatmeal". Computer is programmed to respond to pre-set triggers. Hope this helps
July 15, 2016
Just got a call from this number saying it was the IRS and if I didn't call them then an attorney would be in touch. phone number 1-888-231-7396 This is a scam, do not call back.
July 15, 2016
got a call from 361-436-0874. I did not answer, they left message on answering machine "IRS services. This is to advise you that you must call the IRS at 361-436-0874 immediately to avoid legal action against you" i also filed a complaint with TIG scam form.
July 19, 2016
Recently, we have received many incoming calls that list our phone number as the Call ID. Thought that was weird...
July 19, 2016

In reply to by Calls

It’s a scammer making an illegal robocall

Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake or “spoof” caller ID information. They can make it look like they’re calling from a different place or phone number. Even your number. Scammers use this trick as a way to get around call-blocking and hide from law enforcement. They hope you’ll be curious enough to pick up. Don’t fall for it.

For more information, please see our blog post, Getting calls from your own number?

July 23, 2016
443-735-2796 (Salisbury, MD) called my land line. It was a recorded message with a woman's voice saying the IRS has been trying to reach me and will now file a lawsuit against me. I called back from another number and a man with a Pakistani or Indian accent answered as Officer...whatever. I called several times and asked if he worked Saturdays and got paid? Finally, I spoke to him in a foreign language that is not common. THE IRS WILL NEVER CALL YOU UNLESS YOU HAVE RECEIVED WRITTEN NOTICE AND HAVE A CASE NUMBER. DO NOT GIVE OUT ANY INFORMATION. Scammers galore out there. Beware.
July 23, 2016
443-735-2796 (Salisbury, MD) called my land line. It was a recorded message with a woman's voice saying the IRS has been trying to reach me and will now file a lawsuit against me. I called back from another number and a man with a Pakistani or Indian accent answered as Officer...whatever. I called several times and asked if he worked Saturdays and got paid? Finally, I spoke to him in a foreign language that is not common. THE IRS WILL NEVER CALL YOU UNLESS YOU HAVE RECEIVED WRITTEN NOTICE AND HAVE A CASE NUMBER. DO NOT GIVE OUT ANY INFORMATION. Scammers galore out there. Beware.
July 27, 2016
I've filed numerous complaints w/the FCC RE: a wide variety of TCPA violations/scams. The response is always thanks, but we don't bother investigating these complaints. What a surprise these people continue to attempt to prey on people. How many senior citizens need to get ripped off before the FCC starts taking these complaints seriously? Telemarketers & other such scum know FCC/FTC won't even try to do anything, so they keep going. Without any attempt to enforce it, the TCPA is completely useless!
August 01, 2016
I got a call from a 202-846-2237 (add that one to the list) number saying i owe money. Saying they were gonna freeze my bank accounts and take my passport and take over my business which i do not have a passport or business. They said they would come and take my car and house at any minute and that i would be arrested and sent to jail. That was 30 min ago. This is ridiculous and it needs to stop!!!!!!
August 02, 2016
Today it is coming up as unknown caller. So you can't even block the number, they have called my phone twice already and left messages. At least if a number shows up you can block it.
August 03, 2016
Got a message from an *unavailable* number today (I did not answer the call). IRS after me, ha! Message asked me to call: 404-810-1634.
August 04, 2016
Have received 7 calls since 10am this morning! % calls from (347)349-8574. I put it on my blocked caller list and since have gotten 2 more from (602)638-6921. All leave the same recorded message..starts after the beginning so they don't claim to be the IRS, but threatens me with legal action for past due taxes. I don't ever answer my phone. My friends leave me messages and I call them back. But this is so out of hand with the calls every hour of the day that I am OVER IT!!
why wont it stop!!!!
August 05, 2016
I RECEIVED CALLS FROM 2168416779, 2023654125, 2026512855, 8016562093, 2023654131, 3052142222, 2023654196, 7733124886 AND UNKNOWN NUMBERS. GOING AS FAR AS EMAILING ME AND SAYS ITS A FEDERAL GRANT...THEY GAVE A CONFIRMATION NUMBER ASKING TO PHONE 3156830137 TO CLAIM YOUR $7000 FUND. WHY WONT IT STOP???
March 28, 2017

In reply to by why wont it stop!!!!

I received this same call today from this number (202)750-0000, add it to the list.
Wtf?Don't use …
August 05, 2016
+1 (800) 250-5948 Is saying that they are the irs and they have charges against me. And I tell them that the irs didn't call and they cuss you out.
August 05, 2016
After 42 years of marriage and this being the last straw, I divorced, when my ex spouse got involved, over 1 1/2 years ago, and is currently involved in a Nigerian Lottery, Homeland Security, whatever, scam....our adult kids, the police and FBI have told him the same, it'sa fraud...there is info everywhere yet, my ex still is waiting, in my house, for his 1.5 million...he took loans beind my back and when I exposed it, he called me names, continued to send them $$$, gave them his new phone number..Even with all the evidence, still is in contact to this day...supposed to get money today, yet the 20th cancellation and excuse...We have been divorced for 6 months, I walked away with not one dime after 44 years together, I have to now,work to make ends meet at age 65..doesn't have one dime to live elsewhere, so I let him stay but now want him out of my house...sad end to a long marriage.
Regulate CID S…
August 08, 2016
FCC has regulatory control over the tell-com and yet has put any anti-spoofing regulations requiring tell-com to verify the assigned line is using the proper information. Thank a bad US GOVERNMENT for the above! They could fix it but choose not to!
Do believe the…
August 08, 2016
1800 250 5948 scam too beware
August 13, 2016
received call from "U S Treasury Dept". about taxes I owed.Recorded message said I needed to answer it or I would be arrested. Last chance to discuss before arrest. I returned call and had lengthy conversation w/ "USTreasury Dept agent (with a foreign accent). Interesting thing he added was that my social security card would be blacked out. Also I called him back again and I'm sure he was using his own cell phone. Call came from Hermosa Beach CA--310-870-9083.
August 15, 2016
Recent calls from (310) 251-8433 with the same info. Gardena, CA phone number but saying they are from Washington, DC. I asked for her IRS "badge/ID" number and she provided IRM1256.....sounds "official" doesn't it? I love to give them a hard time right back.
August 17, 2016
Today they called me from (213) 359-1972
August 17, 2016
(844) 761-4087 is another documented scam number.
August 22, 2016
Add (202) 840-6551, please.
August 22, 2016
Add (877)-659-5575. Left a voicemail saying that local enforcement are being sent to my house. It is the same woman's voice used from phone calls from NY, Texas, Colorado, etc. with different numbers.
August 22, 2016
add (206) 238-0111 called today and last week left a message
August 25, 2016
I have received 5 calls today from the following: (201) 762-5848, (408) 692-6021, (509) 588-1437, (914) 297-6412. each time I block the contact number and then I get a call on another number very frustrating.
Tough as A Nail43
August 27, 2016
I too received phone call claim the were calling to give me the heads up that the IRS was missing a warrant for me and I needed to resolve the issue or face five years in prison. That I need to an 5660.00 or face prison in the federal Let. I was totally upset But knew my taxes were fine. I called my local police whom inform me it was a terrible scam? From now on just hang out.Im so ick of these calls. Add to the list 213-716__3932.To me this is like a terrorist act they are victimizing innocent people I'm a Senior also. But I know they are victimizing people who aren't Seniors too. But seems like we are most targeted. Please help Us.
atul jain
August 29, 2016

as. on 26 August, i was cheated by the person , as he call me and said i am speaking from bob and ur account is being blocked . due to non submitt of the documents.

as then he ask my account detail as i get befool and give my account detail as then he ask my debit card detail and . i give all my detail and then as take off all my money from my account.

as his number is still working . he is saying u cant do my anything. as i have done fir also but till now no revert come.. plz do any thing to stop all such crime

FTC Staff
August 29, 2016

In reply to by atul jain

You can call your bank and tell them someone is taking money. Ask the bank to give you a new account number and new debit card.

Another Person
August 30, 2016
Add 213-509-2406 to IRS scam
September 01, 2016
Add number 303-219-8724 and name Brianna Scott treasury department scam
Don't use your…
September 02, 2016
07481 866 453 bank fake call
September 07, 2016
8552179114 keep calling wanting to send money to them
September 10, 2016
Just wanted to add- 317-746-9709..415-300-2908..717-689-4316 317-746-9709...called 9/10/16 @8:42am...left automated voicemail informing me the IRS is preparing a lawsuit against me 415-300-2908...called 7/20/16 @12:02pm and 7/21/16 @10:22am...both calls left the same automated voicemail, but the voice sounded very slow and drawn out, almost distorted, said the issue at hand is extremely time sensitive, I am Officer Heather Graham from Internal Revenue Service, and (long pause) the hotline to my division is 717-689-4316, I repeat it's 717-689-4316..don't disregard this message and do return this call before we take any further action against you..take care and goodbye Thanks everyone for listing other #s..I can't believe there's so many, it's ridiculous..I haven't been able to add them all yet, but I try to add as many as I can to the "Block Contact" list on my cell
September 13, 2016
Called said they were Feds and we were in deep trouble, if we didn't call back. Hope did tight thing
September 21, 2016

Why does the Government and phone companies even permit spoofing? What is a legitimate use for this? Remember, come November! A vote for any incumbent Senator or Representative, Republication or Democrat, or for Hillary; is a vote for the Government to continue it’s lack of enforcement of the DNC law and to permit spoofing.

September 19, 2016
FAKE CALL in Palm Beach, Fl. Man calling from 954-372-2632 said he was with the DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY, and that there has been a number of break-ins in my area. He immediately hung up after I told him we are already armed. Then I blocked the number using Call Blocker app.
September 19, 2016

Add # 310-254-0675 IRS IMPERSONATOR Officer Smith Badge # 3207 When you call number back it goes to China Telecom America . A charge of fraud has been filed now against this number and that person (s) are on file with government for impersonating an officer which holds their company responsible and guilty as well.

September 19, 2016
Got a call from (773) 269-3240 it was an automated message saying there was an IRS case against me and that I needed to call them back immediately. Bunch of crap!! The call came from Chicago.
September 20, 2016
Got two threatening calls September 19, 2016 from (701)264-9501 "IRS filing suite against you" & from (978)746-2083 Caller ID "Starnet Paete" regarding "refusal to show up for claims court!" Makes me doubt any bill collector & regret small payments or payment arrangements made!! Thanks for posted fraudulent / crooked T:#s. Certainly proceed with caution.
September 25, 2016
FBI Scam: My college daughter got a call from the "FBI" demanding money to clear up college debt and gave her 2 hours to pay several hundred dollars. She has no college debt. The caller ID read, FBI. When you call the # it states it is the FBI from a city nearby. The PD at UW Madison, WI have gotten several complaints. Sadly, if she would have had the money in her account, she would have paid it. She was beside herself and ready to ask friends for the $$. Thank goodness she called us. These crooks are so convincing that initially, she didn't believe us when we told her it was a scam.
September 26, 2016
224-330-3283, fake treasury department.
October 05, 2016
I just got a call that said they were with the FBI crime stoppers and I had a arrest warrant because I was accused of fraud and wanted me to go to a Walmart Walgreens or staples and stay in the phone with them and when I got to the parking lot to let them know and follow direction and that I needed to purchase a prepaid debit card with vouchers... the number was 424-228-9686 and it was a California number. - anyone else had this happen?
Angry Redhead
October 06, 2016
215-543-6449 - vm says special agent blah blah from Dept Homeland Security calling for a DEA case, return call or will be served with warrant for arrest
Dog Guy
October 19, 2016

a new number to add to the list 917-962-0037, poses as Citi Bank email of the same scammer, vxcc

Furious in Texas
October 26, 2016
got a call from the same woman twice today about 3 hours apart. Each time she asked to speak to me by first name. In the first call she said the gov't wanted to give me a $7,000. grant because I had paid my bills on time for the last year and I had no felonies against me for the past 6 months (oh, I guess that makes me a good person)...She gave me a Grant # and a call back phone number to speak with a "financial manager". I thanked her and hung up, never calling the financial manager. Her second call came in 3 hours later telling me the same thing although this time it was a grant for $9000. Again I took the info, hung up, and just posted here to report. #s were: 202-643-4817 and 202-754-9731. IRS phone # was 567-203-5703/ What good does it do to sign up for a DO NOT CALL registration?! They call anyway.
October 27, 2016
I am had the same scam call, it showed it was a number in Washington DC the man said they would give me $9000 grant that I wouldn't have to pay back for being a good citizen who paid my bills and stayed out of trouble. He knew my name, address and phone number. Then I hung up. Now I am getting No caller ID numbers, and answered and man said my name I think. Then threatened saying he was going to kill me. I think it is the same peopled. New DC number is 202-653-5684.
December 01, 2016
i am had the same scam call this morning and same from Bnky76 story. and at the end i gave all my bank information , in the middle of conversation i find out that they are scammer . so what i did i run right away to our bank 3 mins away from home and tells what happens this morning we called the police and police officer came at the bank .. We find out that every minute the scammer got a big money from other people who believe to their story This is my lesson not to believe to that kind of story.Their nos are 202-656-9173, 1-646-801-5676 And Thanks to the Bank Manager who helped me doing all my bank information to make a new one and blocked the old account and to the police officer who help me to file a report..