The Basics of Phone Spoofing and Robocalls
Phone spoofing is when a scammer uses caller ID to make it look like they’re calling from a legitimate, trusted source. This can be done by using a fake caller ID generator, or by hacking into a real business’ phone system. Once the scammer has spoofed their caller ID, they will often make unsolicited calls to people, trying to sell them something or trick them into giving away personal information.
Robocall scams are similar to phone spoofing scams, but instead of using a fake caller ID, the scammer will use automated call software to make thousands of calls at once. Often, the scammer will use a recorded message in an attempt to trick the person on the other end into giving away personal information or money.
Common Types of Phone Spoofing and Robocall Scams
- The “Can You Hear Me?” Scam: This scam starts with a phone call from a spoofed number. The scammer will ask, “Can you hear me?” or something similar. If you answer “yes,” the scammer records your response and then uses it to sign you up for unwanted services or make unauthorized charges on your credit card.
- The “IRS” Scam: The caller pretends to be from the IRS and tells you that they owe money. The scammer will often threaten legal action if you don’t pay immediately.
- The “Tech Support” Scam: The caller pretends to be from a tech support company like Microsoft or Apple. They will say that there is a problem with your computer and they need remote access to fix it. Once they have access to your computer, they can install malware or steal personal information.
- The “Prize” Scam: In this scam, the caller tells you that they have won a prize. The catch is that you have to pay a fee to claim the prize.
- The “Health Insurance” Scam: The caller pretends to be from a health insurance company. They will say that you need to renew your policy or update your information. The goal of this scam is to get your personal information so they can sell it or use it to commit fraud.
- The “Amazon Account” Scam: In this scam, the caller pretends to be from Amazon. They will say that there is a problem with your account or that you need to update your payment information. The goal of this scam is to get your credit card number so they can make unauthorized charges.
- The “Student Loan Forgiveness” Scam: The caller pretends to be from the government or a student loan company. They will say that you are eligible for student loan forgiveness. They may even say that you can get your loans forgiven if you make a payment immediately.
- The “Utility” Scam: The caller pretends to be from a utility company like the electric company or the water company. They will say that you need to make a payment or your service will be disconnected.
- The “Family Emergency” Scam: The caller pretends to be your loved one. They will say that they are in trouble and they need money. They may even say that they are in jail or have been in an accident.
- The “Charity” Scam: The caller pretends to be from a charity. They may thank you for a donation that you don’t remember making, and ask you to donate again.