Caller ID/Phone Spoofing
At Central Bank, we’ve heard that our community has been the target of phone scammers using our number in what the FCC calls Caller ID/Phone Spoofing.
What is Caller ID/Phone Spoofing? It’s when a robocaller/scammer deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller id, making another person’s or company’s phone number appear and disguising their true identity. The end goal is to gain your trust and trick you into giving away valuable personal information, give the caller access to your computer, and/or sell you fake services or goods.
Central Bank is not the first to find their number being spoofed by these robocallers; Microsoft, Webroot (a prominent software security company) and countless individuals have been victims of this. In fact, it has become so easy and prevalent that Congress passed The Truth in Caller ID Act in 2009, which prohibits any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.
Like a thief putting on a police uniform to gain your trust, these scammers are using Central Bank’s number and the numbers of other institutions and individuals to gain your trust, steal your information, gain access to your computer, and sell you fraudulent products or services all while using the good name and reputation of others. The only defense is to educate ourselves and our community about the dangers of these phone scams. It is a sad truth, but we can no longer trust Caller ID!
What can Central Bank do to stop this? This is a direct quote from the FCC website:
“If you get calls from people saying your number is showing up on their caller ID, it’s likely that your number has been spoofed. We suggest first that you do not answer any calls from unknown numbers, but if you do, explain that your telephone number is being spoofed and that you did not actually make any calls. You can also place a message on your voicemail letting callers know that your number is being spoofed. Usually scammers switch numbers frequently. It is likely that within hours they will no longer be using your number.”
It is frustrating that we cannot stop the fraudulent use of our phone number. All we can do is make our community aware of this deceitful practice and hope that the FCC and the phone companies develop a solution but, until then, here are a few points to help you avoid these phone scams.
- Do not trust what you see on your caller ID.
- If you get a call from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, politely tell them you will call them back and hang up. Then proceed to call them back using the number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. Do not use a number or website provided by the unsolicited caller.
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers, passwords, or other identifying information in response to an unsolicited phone call.
- If the person refuses to let you hang up and call back and begins to pressure you for an immediate response or threatens you with dire consequences for hanging up, become even more cautious, hang up immediately, and proceed back to step 1.
If you received a call from Central Bank, please call us back at 731-925-9046 or drop by one of our friendly branches and we will be more than glad to help you.
If you have been a victim of such callers purporting to be Central Bank, please file a complaint with the FCC by clicking here. The FCC collects data to track down and prosecute scammers. (Anyone who is illegally spoofing can face penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation).