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When your phone rings and it looks like a local call, you may be more likely to answer. Scammers count on this and can easily fake caller ID numbers. They even can match the first six digits of your own number, which is called “neighbor spoofing.” The urge to answer can be tough to resist, since you might worry it’s a neighbor who needs help, or the school nurse.

If you see a number like this on your caller ID, remember that it could be faked. Letting it go to voicemail is one option. If you do pick up and don’t recognize the caller — hang up.

But what else can you do? Call blocking services that block or flag unwanted calls can help. These services include mobile apps, features built into your mobile phone, cloud-based services, call-blocking devices, or services provided by your phone service carrier. Some are free and others cost money.

You also can register your number with the Do Not Call Registry. The Do Not Call Registry is designed to stop sales calls from legitimate companies, so it won’t stop calls from scammers. But it could make it easier for you to spot scam calls. If a company is ignoring the Registry, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.

You also can help by reporting unwanted calls. We take the phone numbers you report and release them to the public each business day. This helps phone carriers and other partners that are working on call blocking solutions. Your reports also help law enforcement identify the people behind illegal calls.

Scams

346 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.

fed up
January 31, 2018
I get many of these type calls a day. It should be criminalized and fined heavily.
Mary Anne fortner
April 29, 2019

In reply to by bella1120

They call when I answer they. Hang up
Birdlover
May 06, 2019

In reply to by Mary Anne fortner

... yes they use the same first six digits as my phone #, they always have the phone on mute .. and hang up after 10 seconds!!! I get So many of these calls a day, they just switch the last four digits of the number .. so again it stays like a local phone number ... this is actually craziness
Enough is Enough
July 20, 2021

In reply to by Lola

I get a call and they leave a message that if they do not get a call back they will press charges unless I press 1....not even a name or did they say who they needed to speak with. I blocked my number and called back the number on the called id and of course it just rings
jude
January 31, 2018

In reply to by fed up

I've got no solicitations on my phone and I don't get spam callers anymore! It's great!!!
Leatherneck446
April 13, 2021

In reply to by Bubbers

Put your number on all of the no call lists. And don’t answer numbers you are unfamiliar with. Put names on your contact list.
JPB
July 29, 2021

In reply to by Peter

I have a landline and cell phone. I only give my landline out to businesses and I never answer, let it go to voicemail. 25 calls,not one message! And the volume is turned down,no temptation to answer. On cell phone only answer if it’s in your CONTACT LIST. Very easy and simple.
millerf1
February 01, 2018

In reply to by fed up

More than fed up. Reporting to the do not call list just advertises my number, not again. Yesterday after two months of 2 to 4 calls a day after putting up the do not disturb 24 hour a day, and not answering; I complained to the carrier of harassment and threatened to terminate service, so far the calls have stopped. My current blocked numbers are 3032412640, 8007872190,7192421411, 2104015317, 2107773456, 6788461291. With the fake numbers some will not be real. Suggest political action against the carriers who allow fake calls.
ReRe
March 01, 2018

In reply to by millerf1

Hi millerf1. If you have only 4 numbers blocked, your lucky. I hVe over 50. I think it takes a period of time before phone numbers are activated in the Do Not Call List. It was nice when scammers couldn't access cell phone numbers. Whomever has a cellphone plan pays a lot of money for that service. Telemarketers and scammers should not be able to access our cellphones . Good luck!!!
markg
July 02, 2018

In reply to by ReRe

If you have only 50 numbers blocked, you're lucky. In 1-1/2 years, I have over 400. Fact seems to be, Do Not Call partners with scammers to bring you even more unwanted calls. Thanks, DNC.

riledirish
March 27, 2019

In reply to by ReRe

Hi, Miller; I can empathize. I've filled emptied, refilled and emptied my blocked call page at least half a dozen times with the numbers used by one company that has been calling. And this has only been since late November of 2018. Every time I block a number from them they simply use a different number and call again. AT my wit's end. My carrier is no help. Their solution was for me to change my number. Why should I change? I'm not the one breaking the law.
LD
March 30, 2018

In reply to by millerf1

I totally agree. I placed our cell phone numbers on the DNC list and the calls have multiplied since then. We get at least 3 a day. I have my phone set to DO NOT DISTURB All other calls are silenced and go straight to voicemail. I check my phone all the time so I won't miss any emergency calls and if they don't leave a message, it's most likely spam. Something needs to be done, I think anyone purchasing a cell phone should be required to register it in their name with some form of ID, no more burner phones because this is what is allowing this to happen. It's about time government steps in to stop this BS from happening, I'm sick of 3-4 calls a day, every day. Even after 9pm and now on weekends too.
Cookiepress
April 24, 2018

In reply to by LD

I seriously doubt these callers are using a burner. You have to pay for service and minutes with them. Odds are they are using an internet phone. I have one in my home and do not pay for calls only a monthly charge which is a tax. The unit cost 99.00 and we have had it for 6 years and saved a bundle. .
Aneos
May 01, 2018

In reply to by Cookiepress

Not burner phones. Just a computer that spoofs numbers.
Acoll
April 29, 2018

In reply to by LD

I'm not sure about the burner piece. I have a Verizon account, without burner phones, and they are spoofing my number. Two of the numbers that they've used to call me are business owners and they proceed this number on their business cards.
DOC
February 26, 2019

In reply to by LD

This is not true, most of the calls you receive come from over seas and they spoof the numbers. I have over 1500 numbers blocked and still get calls. Most of them is from disconnected numbers.
AGW
February 01, 2018

In reply to by fed up

In early 2017 my daughters cell number was taken over , when she called the provider they confirmed giving her number on assignment three weeks prior to her inquiry. When she asked if they could simply disconnect the other individuals phone , their reply was NO ! She asked why she couldn't keep her 4 year old phone number and they said it was issued to another individual . My daughters phone bill was not delinquent and when she noticed the home phone being forwarded with all incoming calls , she requested help to no avail. Strange numbers and controlled devices are the most irritating to deal with without assistance.
LittleFEDup
February 01, 2018

In reply to by fed up

My new phone in a new STATE has become an nightmare. MY phone has a Block number button up in the ::: on top right of recent calls - but it does NOT stop them it just stops them from ringing.. it still registers them as a call that was missed/BLOCKED. IT is ridiculous.
H,Barnett
February 19, 2018

In reply to by LittleFEDup

seems that way you at least have the number to report and ad to blocked #'s
Mike1352002
July 05, 2018

In reply to by fed up

it is automated systems about credit card , same company .. he is from India .. uses fake numbers , if you call them back , it will be a dead phone number or someone else picked up . I keep adding them to my block list but no luck.. Phone numbers they called from 510 518-2033 510 388-4000 2024957412 3239808981 5103817396 5103853163
TXUSER1234
October 24, 2018

In reply to by Mike1352002

SAME! I have been getting calls from this same (or at least similar) scam for months and no matter how many numbers I block I get at least one a day. This has to stop! They even manage to get through every Norobo/anti-spam app I have tried.
If you have th…
August 20, 2018

In reply to by fed up

I use to get the same calls from the same group--and I'd hang up. Then I started taking there calls and listening to their pitch--effectively wasting their time. Eventually they realized that I wasn't going to give them money, they hung up and I never heard from that group again. So now, when I have time, I try to talk every call. If everyone would do this, in a short while the whole spammer industry would stop.
Jmburn
January 27, 2019

In reply to by If you have th…

If I don't recognize the number I use the following to mess with them, I answer the phone "FBI special agent Johnson, how may I direct your call", they hang up and I don't hear from them again. For me it's fun, I just change up the name occasionally.
William
August 27, 2018

In reply to by fed up

I did this and you should too for fun... next time they call you to scam you.... simply screw with them. Give them a bunch of bogus information until they realize they're being screwed with. Their reaction that they just got screwed with is so hilarious. I look forward to these calls for that very reason.
Bob 1401
March 19, 2019

In reply to by William

I had one where the caller from "Microsoft" wanted to fix a virus. I had him on the phone for over half an hour until I had to leave. Surprise what a slooooow booting computer will do. Plus a blue screen popping up. (Not really and not even at the computer). This was a few years . This way I had an "old" PC that was very slow.
KiKiKeeKee
October 18, 2018

In reply to by fed up

I'm so tired of these calls. I get around 10 a day. I feel helpless and irritated! These people need to be sued!
fed up
December 08, 2018

In reply to by fed up

They call my home using my own name and number as their caller id. Yesterday they called 17 times. I have had to block my own number! This morning it started again at 7:20, 4 calls already.
suppress this number
December 11, 2018

In reply to by fed up

Holy crap I have had anxiety about local numbers calling me now. This is out of control and it's the SAME spammer every single time..I dont have a warranty on my vehicle! Stop it! Oh my god
fed up 2
March 25, 2019

In reply to by fed up

Today I have gotten 2 calls with my caller ID and phone #....so creepy! I am glad to see that I'm not going crazy and it is another scam going around..scared the crap out of me to see my name & #. So glad I didn't fall for it. Thx for sharing.
Pennrat
December 19, 2018

In reply to by fed up

I agree with you, they should be criminalized!! They are harassing "everyone" including the elder people and it needs to stop!! I am so sick of this, it's every day and even on the weekends! The elders that have been put into Nursing Homes and are diagnosed with Dementia were misdiagnosed...it's from where these SCAMMERS have harassed them so much the couldn't take it anymore!! Just think of the elders and do something...PLEASE!!
american
January 06, 2021

In reply to by fed up

Actually these people should be in jail. They are fully aware this is a crime.
rikoshea
January 31, 2018
thanks for the tips.I have a message on my phone that goes on after 3 rings I wait a few min then check my machine and find out they did not leave a msg.
thegailgirl
January 31, 2018
I get unwanted and scam calls on my cell every day and it is consistent calling. How do I report these calls?
CureCIDP
January 31, 2018
Thank you!
KarenWI
January 31, 2018
Reporting local spoofed numbers helps no one, in fact it just ads insult to injury as the first victim is the owner of the spoofed number. Don't call that number back and be abusive to the person that owns the spoofed number, that just makes you just as bad those spoofing numbers. A legit caller will leave a message.The best advice is to just not answer if you don't know the number and let your answering service/machine take the call.
Spoof proof
February 01, 2018

In reply to by KarenWI

Totally agree! If a number comes up and not a name, I look not answer. If they know me, they leave a message. Everyone who has my number that I know is programmed in my phone. Pretty simple.
Washington
February 06, 2018

In reply to by KarenWI

So true. Wish they would’ve added a sentence recognizing this in the post.
TomW
March 20, 2018

In reply to by KarenWI

I use the Canned text message " I'm busy at the moment. Please text me." Since most people have a smart phone, if it's legit, they will. If it's family borrowing a friends phone, they can still reach you. When I used this one texted back asking who I was since they didn't call me, I could warn them someone was spoofing their number.
Brian
March 23, 2018

In reply to by TomW

What good would it do to warn them someone is spoofing their number? They can't do anything about it. The person spoofing their number is using VOIP, which can allow them to enter any phone number they wish to show up on caller id.