The newest trick from scammers: “neighbor spoofing”

If you’re no stranger to receiving telemarketing or scam calls, by now you may have picked up on some ways to avoid these annoying solicitors. Often, all the proof you need is right in the caller ID. After all, if a call is coming from a far-away city with which you have no personal connection, you can probably guess someone is just trying to scam you or sell something.

But what if the call seems to be coming from a local phone number?

“Neighbor spoofing” is the latest strategy that telemarketers and scammers use to entice you to pick up the phone. These tricksters can change how their number appears on your Caller ID, making it match the first six digits of your own phone number. They know that if it looks like a local call, you’re much more likely to answer.

In some cases, robocallers have even matched phone numbers a little too well, spoofing the full nine digits of the person they’re targeting. This leaves some people bewildered as to why they seem to be receiving a call from themselves!

Don’t fall for neighbor spoofing. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  1. If you don’t recognize the number, avoid answering the call. Picking up the phone could indicate to robocallers that your line is active, leading to even more unwanted calls in the future. If it’s a real person or legitimate business calling about something important, they will leave a message.
  2. If you’re ever unsure of the identity of the person you’re talking to, ask for their name, hang up, and call back. DO NOT use the phone number provided by the caller.
  3. When the caller says that you have won a contest you don’t remember entering, it is very likely to be a scam.
  4. Avoid giving out personal or financial information over the phone if you did not initiate the call.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also offers these tips on how to stop these calls:

  1. Sign up for a call blocking service to block or flag unwanted calls.
  2. Register your number with the Do Not Call Registry. Legitimate companies are not allowed to call phone numbers on this list. Scammers obviously wouldn’t care about breaking this law, so this way if you get an unsolicited call, you’ll know it’s likely to be a scam.
  3. Report unwanted calls to help the FTC, phone carriers, and law enforcement stop illegal calls.

Also, please remember that all calls from Scott Credit Union come from 618-345-1000. SCU will never call, text, or email you asking you to verify any personal or financial information.

For more tips on avoiding scams and identity theft, visit our Security page.