What is caller ID spoofing and how do I protect myself from it?

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Do you know what caller ID spoofing is?

It’s a big problem with fraud rings these days. It’s where the phone rings and the caller ID says it’s from your bank, or the Social Security Administration, or the hospital, or wherever, so you answer thinking it’s a legit call.

But it’s not — the crooks can make that caller ID say anything.

In 2017, the FTC reports receiving nearly 7.2 million complaints from people on the Do Not Call registry who received unwanted robocalls or live calls. That represents around a 34% increase from the year before!

RELATED: Here’s what a fake IRS call sounds like

Beware of these caller ID spoofing scams

In one example, con artists can pop up the name of your bank on your caller ID. If you answer the call, you’ll be told there’s a problem with your account and then need to verify info. Don’t do it; any account info you divulge can be used to breach your account.

In other instances, con artists are even popping up the names of charities on your caller ID to con you into giving them money.

Caller ID is not the protection you once thought. So, if a call comes in and you don’t recognize the number or name, let it go to voicemail. If the caller claims to be from your bank or Social Security Administration, don’t give out any info. Call back at a number you know to be valid for your bank or the SSA (800-772-1213) and determine if there are in fact any problems with your account.

Senior citizens are at particular risk to caller ID spoofs that may come in to a landline phone. But the spoofs aren’t limited to landlines; they’re now on cell phones too.

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