Telemarketers may be hijacking your phone number

By Dan Curtis

My phone rang with a local number that I didn’t recognized. When I answered the caller said, “Hi, this is Jim, I missed a call from this number.”

I told Jim that I hadn’t called him. I realized that my phone number was being used for what’s known as “call spoofing.” Unfortunately, it’s easy to do. If you have an Internet phone, you can replace the caller ID with another phone number. This is why we get calls from telemarketers from local numbers.

An article on the Federal Trade Commission’s website warns, “Scammers use this trick as a way to get around call-blocking and hide from law enforcement. They hope you’ll be curious enough to pick up.”

The real callers could be calling from anywhere in the world and just using a local number to cloak themselves. These calls are illegal but unfortunately, there is not much that can be done about it. It’s just something that comes with modern technology. The FTC cautions people to not fall for a telemarketing call that comes from a local number – especially a cell phone number. And definitely don’t press buttons requesting to be taken off the call list or talk to a live person. This will just lead to more calls.

Carriers have been slow to respond to consumer demands to build wide-scale robocall blocking technologies into their provided services. The FCC and FTC cannot order phone companies to provide this technology. There is a petition out calling on carriers to put an end to robocalls. You can find more about it here:

Add your name to caller ID for your cell phone

When a telemarketer hijacks a phone number, they usually don’t have a name associated with the number. To ensure that people know it’s you calling, you can associate your name with caller ID for your phone number. Most major cell phone carriers provide this service. Check with your cell phone carrier for instructions.