Are You Being Spoofed?
PTCI customers are seeing an increase in calls that appear to be coming from a local phone number, but are actually from an auto-dialer or telemarketer? It’s not only PTCI customer that are affected, it’s a worldwide issue. The practice is called Caller ID Spoofing.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines “Spoofing” as when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally. U.S. law and FCC rules prohibit most types of spoofing.
Scammers use many tactics to appear legitimate and trustworthy. Use extra caution when divulging personal information. Here are some things to watch for:
- The calls appear to come from businesses or organizations that you familiar with.
- The callers may request personal information (such as your Social Security number).
- The callers use an automated voice asking you to return their calls to avoid legal action.
- The callers ask you to return their calls at different phone numbers than the ones shown on Caller ID.
- The callers claim you have won a prize or contest.
- The callers say you owe a debt and ask that you take care of it immediately.
- The calls appear to come from someone you know or even your own phone number.
In most cases, it is illegal to change your caller ID information for fraud or other reasons; however, some calls are frustrating but not against the law. These callers must follow government rules. Examples include:
- Law enforcement agencies can be allowed to alter their Caller ID information if they have permission from a court.
- Telemarketers, provided they display the name of the company they represent.
- Legitimate debt collectors.
- Political campaigns.
PTCI recommends these precautionary measures to protect you from deceptive callers:
- Never give out or verify personal information over the phone.
- For calls that may include a financial transaction, initiate the call yourself and only call a phone number that you can verify as legitimate.
- Register your phone number with gov.
- Stay informed and know your rights by visiting the FCC Consumer Help Center.
The FCC is working on a plan that would let providers “block spoofed robocalls when the spoofed Caller ID can’t possibly be valid.” Providers would be able to block numbers that aren’t valid under the North American Numbering Plan and block valid numbers that haven’t been allocated to any phone company. They’d also be able to block valid numbers that have been allocated to a phone company but haven’t been assigned to a subscriber.
PTCI provides blocking options to its landline and cellular customers. If you would like more information on Caller ID Spoofing or Call Blocking, call PTCI at 580-338-2556.