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Scammers Can Fake Caller ID Info

May 4, 2016

by Andrew Johnson

Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

 

 Your phone rings. You recognize the number, but when you pick up, it's someone else. WHAT'S THE DEAL? Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they are someone local, someone you trust - like a government agency or police department, or a company you do business with - like your bank or cable provider.  The practice is called caller ID spoofing, and scammers don't care whose phone number they use.  One scammer recently used the phone number of an FTC employee. Don't rely on caller ID to verify who's calling.  It can be nearly impossible to tell whether the caller ID information is real.

 

Here are a few tips for handling these calls: 

If you get a strange call from the government, hang up. If you want to check it out, visit the official (.gov) website for contact information. Government employees won't call out of the blue to demand money or account information.

  • Don't give out - or confirm - your personal or financial information to someone who calls.
  • Don't wire money or send money using a reloadable card. In fact, never pay someone who calls out of the blue, even if the name or number on the caller ID looks legit.
  • Feeling pressured to act immediately? Hang up. That's a sure sign of a scam.

 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information

April 2016

Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. They often combine new technology with old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information.

Here are some practical tips to help you stay a step ahead:

  1. Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don't send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request - whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
  2. Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like "review." "complaint" or "scam". Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like "IRS call." You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
  3. Don't believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren't always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
  4. Don't pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you've won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
  5. Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don't. Wiring money through services like Western Union or Money Gram is risky because it's nearly impossible to get your money back. That's also true for reloadable cards like Money Pak, Reloadit or Vanilla. Government offices and honest companies won't require you to use these payment methods.
  6. Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert - or just tell a friend.
  7. Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don't press 1 to speak or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
  8. Be skeptical about free trail offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for charges you don't recognize.
  9. Don't deposit a check and wire money back. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. IF a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you're responsible for repaying the bank.
  10. Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox.

If you spot a scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement investigates scams and bring crooks to justice.

 

 

 

 Citizens State Bank will begin ordering the new debit cards with EMV chips in 2016.

For more information go to the "Important Information" tab.

 

 Identity Fraud May Be Down But Your Guard Needs to Stay Up!

Click on "Banking Safety Tips" tab for more information.

  

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