You can’t always trust caller ID

RBC | In the days before caller ID and answering machines, if you wanted to know who was calling, you had to pick up the phone. Thanks to “spoofing,” you might be better off letting the caller leave a message, even it if comes from a name and number you recognize.
Meeker’s Theresa Anderson said she has been receiving calls from local 970-878 exchanges that look local, but are actually robocalls with potentially fraudulent intent. In the last few days, she’s received calls that include local numbers along with the names of people she knows. and a friend received a call that appeared to come from Anderson’s landline.
Spoofing, according to the Federal Communications Commission, “occurs 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.
Caller ID lets consumers avoid unwanted phone calls by displaying caller names and phone numbers, but the caller ID feature is sometimes manipulated by spoofers who masquerade as representatives of banks, creditors, insurance companies or even the government.”
If you think you’re being spoofed, the FCC recommends the following:
– Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
– If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone 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.
– Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
– If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
If you think you have been spoofed, you can file a claim with the FCC at or call 1-888-CALL FCC (225-5322).