WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA*9 Call For Action)--The caller ID on your phone tells you the call is from your bank, but is it?
MORE: FCC Guide Caller ID and Spoofing
What is spoofing?
Unfortunately, identity theft has attacked caller ID and the result is disturbing to consumers. It works this way: the number listed on your phone says it is from your credit card company. The caller says your credit card is being used to make purchases that don't fit your spending pattern and the company is concerned that you may be the victim of fraud. The caller asks for your credit card number to verify your identity. Believing the number registered on your caller ID, you provide the info. Oops! Crooks will have a field day using your credit card. Much the same spiel is used to get access to your bank records including your social security number. Once you have provided the information crooks go to work robbing your bank account and setting up fake accounts in your name.
There are a number of companies that advertise on the internet that you can change your identity when making a phone call by purchasing their device. The Federal Trade Commission frowns on this practice when it is used by telemarketers because it may violate telemarketing rules. In one case the FTC took action against a mortgage company that used spoofing to disguise its identity.
Is spoofing taking place in other forms of communication?
Emails are spoofed so they look as if they come from one source. But, in fact, they are from clever crooks that want to steal your money or your identity. Often these crooks are in another country.
MORE: WUSA*9 Call For Action
Many consumers are now aware of emails that claim to be from their bank, credit card company and so forth that want personal financial information. The email appears to be from one source, when in fact, it is from a crook trying to rip off a consumer.
The best advice is to use another means to communicate with your financial institutions. For example, if you get a call and the caller ID indicates it is your credit card company, do not provide personal information during the call. Ask for the name and phone number of the person calling. But do not use it, rather go to an independent source, such as your credit card itself and locate the number for customer service. Keep the caller info in case it is a scam and you can report it to federal authorities.
Written By: Shirley Rooker
Director, WUSA*9 Call For Action