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“I’m calling from [pick any bank]. Someone’s been using your debit card ending in 2345 at [pick any retailer]. I’ll need to verify your Social Security number — which ends in 8190, right? — and full debit card information so we can stop this unauthorized activity...”

So the caller ID shows the name of your bank. And the caller knows some of your personal details. Does that mean it’s legit? No. It’s a scam and scammers are counting on the call being so unsettling that you might not stop to check your bank statement.

We’ve started hearing about phone scams like this, which combine two scammer tricks: spear phishing and caller ID spoofing. In a phishing attempt, scammers may make it look like they’re from a legitimate company. And when they call or email with specific details about you asking you to verify the information in full (things like your Social Security number or address)  that’s called spear phishing.

The other nasty wrinkle in this scam is caller ID spoofing. That’s when scammers fake their caller ID to trick you into thinking the call is from someone you trust.

Here’s how you can avoid these scam tactics:

  • Don’t assume your caller ID is proof of whom you’re dealing with. Scammers can make it look like they’re calling from a company or number you trust.
  • If you get a phone call, email, or text from someone asking for your personal information, don’t respond. Instead, check it out using contact info you know is correct.
  • Don’t trust someone just because they have personal information about you. Scammers have ways of getting that information.
  • If you gave a scammer your information, go to IdentityTheft.gov. You’ll learn what to do if the scammer made charges on your accounts.

Even if you didn’t give personal information to the scammer, report the scam to the FTC. Your reports help us understand what’s happening and can lead to investigations and legal action to shut scammers down.

37 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.

Surely
October 31, 2018
There are professional looking P.C. so called tech support That is relentless & must be stopped! So tired of SO MANY Global calls! I'm on do not call list what else?
Former Mark
October 31, 2018
10/31/18 FTC Article : Spear phishing scammers want more from you Scammers can make it look like they’re calling from a company or number you trust. Why is the above action not illegal and traceable? Similarly, how is it that phone companies are not held accountable for their customer's use of the phone? If I rent an apartment, I have to sign a waver that I will not use the apartment for illegal activities and if I due use the apartment I am subject to immediate eviction. I am not advocating that the phone company is totally responsible, but they are complicit in the crime.
Sick and tired
November 24, 2018

In reply to by Former Mark

I am with you all the way, is there any way to file a class action law suite against the telemarketers for harassment when we have logged and reported the 100s of calls when on dnc list., i feel the company letting them use their equipment and the money we pay our phone companies both landline and cell companies to block these calls, that let the same number continue to call you when you keep reporting same number, should be held accountable to put a stop to that number or ip address on voip calls ,should disconnect them
rssfitz@59
October 31, 2018
It's the 5-10 calls a day from scammers that's make you want to throw your phone way
BOBBIE J
October 31, 2018
I HAVE RECEIVED THESE CALLS SEVERAL TIMES, I ALWAYS HANG UP. I AM GOING TO COPY THIS NOTICE TO GIVE OUT AT CHURCH.
Bibi07
October 31, 2018
We got a few calls and em like those; crooks pretend they are from banks, Social Security, and even shops like Apple; they ask us to confirm our credit card account numbers, SSN and DOB etc.. We did not reply- BUT we wonder how they can get them. We found some webs offer to "sell" very personal info- like addresses current and past, age+DOB, car names, phone and cell numbers, who live there, marital status and income.. etc ...; they ask to pay to get full details. We feel our PRIVACY is affected-and this is NOT safe. Do you have any laws or ways to prevent/limit those ???
rysio
October 31, 2018
This is really amazing- modern tech at work Thank you very much for the update information
John
October 31, 2018
The sad part is last week at home the house hold phone rang thinking is was my mother at first then I looked at the number before picking it up, it was my own home number calling me with my name showing on the screen. Most of the time I know who would call me about what time also and even the I let it go to voicemail before I pick it up just to make sure.
jakeo25
October 31, 2018
How is this remotely possible in our era of ecommerce, and why aren't the leaders in our legislative branch fixing this? This could be done overnight with changes to telecom and banking laws ... But I guess we know who's really "minding the store".
Chibi2
October 31, 2018
Beware of Public Clearing House calling that you won a prize, all they want is your private info.
wheels
October 31, 2018
I have been getting calls continually for months from someone who claims that my computer security is at risk. They have called as much as 8 calls a day on my home phone and up to seven on my cell. They leave a phone number to call and then give a sales pitch but never say who they are. Their number is 8336201802.
JaniceFW
November 01, 2018
I don't know, I feel that these scammers are somehow able to track browser information. You may purchase an item with debit card or credit card and most of the info is crypted or blocked except the last four numbers on your card. Somehow they are able to track it and use it. It's sad.
vj-czm
November 05, 2018
I could not stand with scammers too much. Why not FTC, FCC and DOJ can make on investigation on technology system targert on scammers? So they can enact new LAW on scanning system. I think they shall ban on robo call system.
FORCE ACCURATE…
November 01, 2018
My own phone NUMBER as caller ID reported to provider results: constant repeated FAILURES to FIX IT still getting SCAM calls
Cheryl
November 01, 2018
I am sharing this info with my assisted living facility, elders are way too trusting!
theyneverstopcalling
November 01, 2018
I receive about 50 calls a day, you pick up nobody says anything so i stopped answering and missed a bunch of calls from my Doctors Nurses calling. I AM tired of the calls and it doesn't matter if you have caller ID or not. JP
Chris
November 02, 2018
I have changed my home landline to ONLY accept calls that I "whitelist", and I have to say, I have never been happier. Any time the phone rings, it IS SOMEONE I WANT TO TALK TO. This is SO much better than the 100 numbers I filled up with spoofed numbers that I blocked. I highly recommend that you look into doing this with the carrier you use for your phone service.
Z-14
November 02, 2018
Thank you sincerely for the important work you are doing to help us fight (with success) these criminals. Your information is always an asset and sharing it with my associates and family expands your reach. Your efforts are deeply appreciated.
Maggi
November 02, 2018
It is insane the number of scam calls I get. I am sorry to say being on the do not call list is a joke. The latest "microsoft" scam is a caller saying that your microsoft will expire in 5 days and unless you pay them $300, they will cancel it. Of course, they need control of your computer to cancel as well as process your payment. How do these people sleep at night.
jDon't use you…
November 02, 2018
I tell them I am busy right now and will call them back as soon as I can.
Lisa
November 05, 2018
I was at work and I received a call on my cell phone that came up as “no caller I’d” a lady left a message and said that I would have documents delivered to my home and place of employment with in 24-48 hours and I would need to have two forms of identification. If they delivered to my work than my supervisor and or Human Resource personal would need to be present! The number she called from was 1-833-835-9699. She left a reference #. I tried to call back and the same lady answered and when I asked who she was and what company she was with she hung up the phone.
Lee
November 12, 2018

In reply to by Lisa

I literally just got the same message. Before I did anything I looked up the number and found this.
Ex spouse
November 10, 2018
Same thing to me, same number looking for my ex wife from 10 yrs ago. Hung up on me and now wont answer the phone. Its a collection agency i am sure. Knowing my ex and her ignorance with money. There looking for money.
TTennyson
November 13, 2018
Fake Emails from Employees requesting direct deposit changes for payroll checks. They are not really from your employees....be careful!! Have received (3) today.
DNC
November 15, 2018
904-506-2179, 904-506-1246, 904-506-1090 SCAM or Not "Name Unavailable" If you're going to scam people, at least purge DNC Registry numbers from your call lists. I hope the phone provider, stops you service. NO... MEANS... NO.... Ya.. Same for phonecalls to.
Sick and tired
November 24, 2018
Is there anyway after the FTC identifies the scammers that a class action suite can be brought against the company that let them use their network for scamming purposes?
Lynn
December 01, 2018
I just got scammed for a lot of money. I won’t go into details, but scams can grab you when YOU are the one making the call to get assistance from a company, like computers or email accounts. But it could also be a bank or anyone. The online phone directories are FULL of bogus customer service numbers, and that is how I got taken with a Google Play Card scam. I thought I was talking to Yahoo, as I called the number listed - there was more than one. How was I to know Yahoo does not have customer support by phone? If you want to call a company, go directly to their website and get it there. NEVER trust any online directory, as virtually anyone can list a number and a company and you do not know there is no control over these listed numbers or who is listing them. My friends did not know this, either, and frequently use online lookups for phone numbers. Many get taken down the creek for that mistake, me being one of them.
JR
December 06, 2018
Just received a spoofing call from a recording of someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration and that my SS benefits were being cancelled unless I pressed a number to clear up. The caller ID number was the SSA's actual customer service number. I brought this up with our corporate security officer and she indicated that it was indeed a scam and sent me the link to this web site.
Routerbye
December 13, 2018
If someone threatens you on the phone, or email, it's 99% certain that it is a scam. If it's a robocall, it's 99% also. If someone requires money (bitcoins, money orders, or anything fungible), right now, it's 99%. If someone represents herself as taking action against you unless you pay, it's 99%. If someone promises a monetary or other reward that you're not expecting, it's 99%. If you're unsure about the seriousness of the call (there are emergencies in this world), do not respond to any questions whatsoever (even to say "yes"), but get the individuals name, telephone number and place of employment. Do some checking. Call Aunt Minnie who's being evicted from her nursing home. Don't panic. Never give out personal or financial information to people that call when you're not expecting the call. If you're interested, continue to read the experiences of others.
BP
December 15, 2018
What you do if they say that they are calling from "store name" and need me to confirm last 4 digit of my SSN? They said they have my all info including SSN and just need to verify. Which fraud/ID theft companies do you recommend? Thank you
Scan58
December 26, 2018
NO government agency will EVER call you to ask for money. If someone says they are from a store, government agency, police department, basically anyone requesting or demanding money over the phone, hang up and call the place directly. Do NOT call the numbers they give you. Find the numbers from the legitimite website and call it. If they say they have someone you care about that person needs money because of a medical problem, legal issue or anything else, call the person directly and verify. No legitimate agency will ask to be paid in gift cards or i-tune cards or anything like that, nor will they send you a check for the wrong amount and want you to send them the difference. Use some common sense.
Don't use your…
January 10, 2019
iam so tired of the calls I get my Bank acc: was almost emptied out it was broken in to aneed all my Information was out and somebody pulled 40.000.00 out ???? Help nothing is saved anymore
happy123
February 18, 2019
I've had several robocalls that start "thank you for your recent healthcare visit." No company name. I just hang up. Any robocall that appears to start in the middle, to make you think they said their name but you missed it, is probably a scam.
Nickie Amos
March 11, 2019
Well that would explain why I had to get a new card... Of course my problem may not even be related to the reason why you sent me this notification..? And you're not getting my social security number...
Sally may
September 23, 2019
Scam email say apple will lock you out