The phone rings and when you look at the caller ID you see something very strange—it's showing your telephone number. How could that be?
Chances are your phone number is being "spoofed" by a scammer.
"This is just the latest tactic being used by illegal telemarketers," said Robert Siciliano, fraud expert with BestIDTheftCompanys.com. "They hope that if you see your own number displayed on the caller ID, your curiosity will get you to pick up the phone."
A phone fraudster might also do this hoping to beat the new call-screening services now being used by millions of people. These services, including Nomorobo, PrivacyStar, Truecaller and WhitePages, rely on blacklists of known robocallers and illegal telemarketers to help block unwanted calls.
"A person's own phone number is not likely to be on the blacklist, so these telemarketers hope to beat the filtering software by spoofing that number," said Bikram Bandy, head of the Do Not Call program at the Federal Trade Commission. "Fighting illegal telemarketing calls is a cat and mouse game and these telemarketers aren't giving up easily. We didn't think they would."
Aaron Foss runs Nomorobo, a free robocall-blocking service for land line phones. He figured out the new spoofing tactic after getting thousands of calls from Nomorobo users.