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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.

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  • 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.

Bunny-h
January 31, 2018
Some scammers use anonymous caller ID. So I don’t know whether to answer or not.
connie2cats
January 31, 2018
I get these calls quite often but I don't answer! I don't know these people who are calling and they never leave a message! I also get a lot of charity calls too!
waltc
January 31, 2018
1/31/2018 STOP SCAMMERS! On your phone message say: State your name then, "I am monitoring my calls, state your business and leave your name and number." The scammers will hang up in second. They won't leave their name and phone number.
Dimsum
January 31, 2018
Our business gets robo calls all day long using "Neighbor Spoofing" and other spoofed caller id numbers. This is very disrupting and costly to our business. We would welcome the FTC to work directly with us to set up a sting operation and get to the source of these calls. The scammers want my credit card info. We could set up a credit card liked to a special account and trace the transaction back to the scammer. Once that connection is made and the scammer prosecuted and jailed it may send a message to the others.
jus-passin-thru
January 31, 2018
How 'bout making it harder to fake caller ID?
Mel
January 31, 2018
I stupidly answered "yes" on a robo call about home security... please tell me what to do now? Please tell me if I signed up for anything or have agreed to something I do not want? I totally know better, and have advised my kids and others against saying "yes" but they got me!! HELP!
tinytuliptim
January 31, 2018
I sometimes get 10 to 15 of these in a 2 day period. I quickly realized these were not local calls, so stopped answering.
mrsmike
January 31, 2018
I have” no more robot calls “ thru Spectrum. This does cut down on a number of DAILY calls. Sometimes as late as 9:00 PM! One day my phone rang and I thought that’s fimiliar and I answered it! Spamcall. I went back and looked at the number. It was MY home phone number. Now if I don’t recognize a number I will not answer my phone. Sad..
Ariyah
January 31, 2018
We have to answer those calls to confirm medical appointments and others who do not advise us of the numbers they may use for calls that are important to us. Our Call Blocker is full and deletes the oldest ones.
Zofmui
January 31, 2018
I'm getting spoof calls like this from SiriusXM. Anyone else?
DB
January 31, 2018
We get almost a dozen calls a day from faked caller IDs. It's time to take a more proactive approach, and LEGALLY REQUIRE phone companies to authenticate callers. The problem won't be fixed until it's the corporations' problem instead of the consumers' problem.
km
January 31, 2018

In reply to by DB

I am in total agreement of this statement. Let's see ATT, Verizon, Sprint and ALL phone companies hold this responsibility. I'm fed up!! Consumers are willing to help find a solution, but I have yet to hear that one single company has tried to do anything.
Chin kook
February 14, 2018

In reply to by DB

Exactly! The phone companies need to stop this nuisance caalling! I'm not making any money having a phone line but the phone company is as well as the scammertrying tho make money off of us. And we are supposed to jump through hoops!! BS!
Charliesmom
January 31, 2018
I get this everyday almost and it’s two or three numbers ata time! I always block them since not one single number looks legitimate. Is there a way to report multiple numbers? I’ve written them all down.
michigander
January 31, 2018
Reporting these scam numbers that are being used by spammers would be a huge headache for the “real person” the number actually belongs to. We get several every day and have looked the numbers up. Most if not all of the spoofed numbers are legitimate business, home or cell phone numbers. I’ve even gotten them that they appear to be my own number. Not sure that the link in this article to report these numbers is the solution in the case of them appearing to be a local caller.
Tom1949
January 31, 2018
This is a terrific program! Always relevant, easy to read asset for consumers. Thanks!
mav
January 31, 2018
Why is spoofing caller ID allowed in the first place? What use is it, if we can't trust it? I don't ever even hear any discussions of why this can't be stopped. If it can't be completely fixed, it should at least be possible to have a caller-reputation system similar to what exists in email with sites like spamhaus.
FTC Staff
January 31, 2018

In reply to by mav

The FTC collects the phone numbers that people complain about and release them each business day. This helps telecommunications carriers and other industry partners that are working on call blocking solutions. The call blocking tools rely on blacklists, which are databases of phone numbers that have been reported as the source of illegal calls.

View the open government sets of information.

ZLH
February 02, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

This is the list that phone carriers use when you request they block “robocalls” from your phone. You will still get robocalls from legitimate sources such as doctor office appointment reminders or calls from your credit card or bank fraud alert line. At this point in time, it is the best solution available to us until regulations or laws change in favor of consumers, instead of companies, for once,
Nutmeg
February 02, 2018

In reply to by ZLH

Doctors and other medical providers SHOULD NOT USE robocalls or no caller ID......Period. If there is no caller ID or an Unknown Name displaying I don't answer.
aug
January 31, 2018

In reply to by mav

i agree there is no legitimate reason to allow spoofed calls period. along with it being harassing it could cause trouble for the legitimate holder of that number. I just got 4 spoofed calls in my same small town all in about 90 minutes
JJenkins
January 31, 2018
I received a call from someone who was being scammed by MY number. I was able to convince the distraught woman that the calls weren't actually coming from me. The reason I'm providing this information to you, is that scammers use LEGITIMATE (and innocent party) NUMBERS. If this poor woman had repirted it to you, then YOU would be reporting/releasing MY number to the public as a scammer number. How is this an appropriate action concerning MY number????
Nandrew
January 31, 2018
We must be among the few people who still have an answering machine and not caller ID. We never pick up the phone, rather we wait and see if people start to leave a message to see who it is. We get many many calls who do not leave a message and can only assume they are all scammers!
Peter H
January 31, 2018
Every day I get calls from two numbers, I think maybe my internet phone provider eliminates the phone message but I still receive the call on voice message without any audible content often several a day. The calls come from 866 729 2722 and 707 205 3356. The silent calls last about 8 seconds and are annoying.
Michele C.
January 31, 2018
I agree with you. I simply don't answer my LAN line. If it's someone I know, THEY know to starting talking or I won't pickup. It's so damn annoying. Those slime bags change their number randomly so you really can't track.
Clemantine
January 31, 2018
My wife and I both get these calls and we are on the do not call list, we block the number but they just change the number and call again. Its really annoying and we wish we could stop it.
Cappy
February 01, 2018

In reply to by Clemantine

I'm contemplating an air horn if it's a person on the otherend.
Tom O'Brien
January 31, 2018
The Do Not Call Registry is a waste of time and resources, since robocallers ignore it. Our Lawmakers are in collusion with them.
Office Rat
January 31, 2018
I've received two spoofed calls that appeared to be from my local prefix. I've called the numbers back to let the legitimate owners know that someone is spoofing their number, and suggest they contact Centurylink to notify them, and see if Centurylink can and will do anything about it. Not likely, I suppose. I get multiple calls each day from other spoofed numbers, or 'Out of Area' - there's got to be a way to stop this.
Janice FW
January 31, 2018
There are only two things that you can do with these calls. Use your phone provider's call blocking system and then a Nomorobo service to battle the rest. These both are working for me now. It is sad that these spam callers have figured out ways of getting beyond the blockings. It may take time, but I believe the spam garbage will eventually die down and go away for good when they realize they are getting nowhere.
Nancy
January 31, 2018
revieved a call from "Alice" saying that I qualified for lower rates on my Visa card (uhm...I don't have a Visa card). I hung up as soon as "Alice" told me to press 1 and if I did not respond, my card would be terminated - these crooks are getting nastier!
J 1973
January 31, 2018
do not call list is a joke - plus I cant block every local number - I have kids and coaches and teachers that may be calling me that I cannot be blocking - how about catching and stopping these guys, now there is a solution.
P.J.
January 31, 2018

In reply to by J 1973

I agree. It could create jobs, too, such as law enforcement, computer and phone technology and support staff
Ron A
January 31, 2018
I get these calls every day. I do not answer any of them..
Tech
January 31, 2018

In reply to by Ron A

Way to go, Ron A. Congratulations for figuring this out instead of asking the Government to spend more money needlessly. I mostly do the same but sometime I like to screw with them, waisting their time. I love the siding sales calls. After I let them go on about their product and ask them to answer a few stupid questions, I will say "by the way how do you attach the siding to the brick covering on my house". P.S. We don't need the FTC to become another NSA.
AuntieEm
January 31, 2018
I block every call I do not recognize, if they do not leave a call back # they do not know me! If the same bogus # calls back and it is blocked it rings once; several do not call again. My original # is unlisted.
Ken
January 31, 2018
If you have a business, you MUST answer the phone. You must put up with the never-ending unsolicited calls. This telephone abuse must stop. Enormous fines, mandatory community service, I don't really care, so long as the punishment is HUGE. I want this to be priority number one.
ZLH
February 02, 2018

In reply to by Ken

Most of these calls originate in foreign countries, not subject to U.S. law or punishment. The only real solution is technological: forcing phone companies to require all callers to show ACTUAL, TRUE origin phone numbers and company names, as I explain and suggestion above, and holding the phone companies accountable if they allow applications to be used to subvert this. They can easily tell calls originating internationally. Even better, require all calls to show origin numbers that can receive a call back on, not dummy numbers. This would require the government to pass a law that benefits CONSUMERS, NOT COMPANIES, for once.
Jim
January 31, 2018
We never answer the phone. Every call goes to voice mail. We are on the do not call list, it’s a joke. We get so many calls everyday. I started reporting them. That’s such a pain, it’s easier to just let it ring.
DaMan
February 01, 2018
The solution to spam calls is the same solution to junk emails. If all outgoing calls cost the caller...say, five cents...and all outgoing emails cost the sender a penny, I believe that would eliminate the problem overnight. I'm quite willing to pay both of those amounts.
diane
February 01, 2018
My answering machine is full daily with these calls. Some times it is only 1 call. Nothing on the message but fills my machine blocking any real messages i may be waiting on.
manny b
February 01, 2018
i got a call from 5086440040 they told me i took a pay day loan and im in a lot of trouble is this a scame or not and should i pay
vickster
February 01, 2018
well now I know the Do Not Call Registry is useless! these scammers and places like Marriott Hotels that call and the people who call me by my first name and act like they're friends are still able to get through!
Duchess
February 01, 2018
I get these calls all day long and I am totally feed up! If you call the number back a recording tells you it is no longer in service. Makes me think phone companies see them the numbers....who knows!
Vicky Ross
February 02, 2018
I never answer unless I see the name on my landline phone or see the name on my T.V. screen. If I don't reconize.. then I ignore the call or set my ans.machine on...calls will not be answered..
DoCaltenn11n't…
February 02, 2018
The "Do not call registry " is a joke!!
Spam hater
May 14, 2018

In reply to by DoCaltenn11n't…

You are absolutely right! Congress and the FTC have no desire to address this problem. It's transforming telecommunications (in a bad way) and they're fiddling while Rome burns.
Nutmeg
February 02, 2018
Every legitimate business should be mandated and regulated to use Caller ID.....no exceptions. While this may not guarantee spoofing it will help. On DO NOT CALL list & still get UNKNOWN NAME callers, can't block the out-of-state number with AT&T and I am not answering from an out-of-state number I am not familiar with. Why not have a function that the customer to input only those numbers they will accept calls from. We should all be concerned with Identify Theft with these kinds of numbers.
Evol14344
February 02, 2018
I got a call from my husband's cellphone and it showed his caller ID so I answered the call but it was one of those robocalls that I have already blocked. I called my cellphone carrier and they just wrote a report and gave me a case number. It is so very frustrating.
atoman
February 03, 2018
I think the carriers are selling phone numbers and also the DMV and other govt. agencies to make a certain amount of money from each name they provide.These govt. agencies should get big fines.