Don’t Be Scammed!

Spoofing… Phishing… It is all a scam to trick you into giving away valuable, personal information.  Crooks use Caller ID spoofing to mask a local phone number or email address.  The word “Spoof” means “falsified”.

Spoofing… Occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies the information being sent to your caller ID display.  It is often an attempt to trick someone into giving them valuable, personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally.

How does it work?  Caller ID spoofing providers allow individuals and organizations to dictate what phone number they want to appear when they place calls.  They pay for a certain number of call minutes, then use an online interface to enter their phone number, the number to be called, and the number they want to appear on the recipient’s Caller ID display.  The Caller ID spoofing service then makes the call on the spoofer’s behalf.

The goal of this scam is to get you to reveal personal information such as account numbers, passwords, and Social Security numbers.  To avoid becoming a victim of Caller ID spoofing, take the following precautions:

  • Never give out personal information over the phone, such as account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, birthdates, etc. unless you called them!
  • If you receive a call requesting information, ask for the name of the organization that is calling. Then call that organization using the phone number on your bill statement, found in your phone directory or obtained through directory assistance.  DO NOT call the number they give you!  Let the organization know you received a call asking for the information.
  • DO NOT give a caller access to your computer. NO computer service provider knows when you are having computer problems or have a virus. 

Email Spoofing/Phishing… Is when the sender purposely alters parts of the email to masquerade as though it was authored by someone else.

Why would someone do this?  To phish your passwords and login names by luring you into a trusting email.  They will provide a link to a fake website that is cleverly disguised to look like your bank or other pay site.  Once you click on the link it will ask you to enter your username and password.  It is also done to fill your mailbox with advertising and viruses.  To avoid becoming a victim take the following precautions:

  • NEVER click on a link in an email that requires you to enter a username and password.
  • Save all websites in your favorites that require username and password and only access from your personal links.
  • NEVER open attachments you did not request.
  • NO legitimate business will ask for your personal information in an email.
  • NEVER include passwords, credit card accounts, bank routing numbers, social security number or other identifying information in an email!

How to Defend and Recognize Spoof emails?  Your best defense is your skepticism.  If you do not believe the email is truthful, or the sender is legitimate… DON’T OPEN IT and DON’T OPEN THE ATTACHMENT.  If the email seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Be aware of current scams by visiting the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/, click on “Scam Alerts” or the Federal Communications Commission website at https://www.fcc.gov/general/frauds-scams-and-alerts-guides for current alert information.