New warning issued about robocalls disguised as ‘neighbor spoofing’

What's the Deal

There’s a warning being issued to consumers about a certain kind of robocall that’s rapidly spreading all over the country.The FCC has put out an alert about something called “neighbor spoofing”.

That’s where scammers place calls that appear to be local but are being made from overseas.Experts say it was the internet which helped the proliferation of robocalls, making it cheap and easy to make them from anywhere in the world.


Now, criminals are trying to make you believe the call you are getting is from right next door using “neighbor spoofing” where the caller ID shows a local number, maybe even just one digit away from your own.

Scammers use “neighbor spoofing” because having a call that appears comes from close by increases the likelihood you’ll trust the caller and answer.

“They’re not legitimate telemarketers. They have technology through the internet that makes it hard to block them,’’ said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.

According to the Federal trade commission, Americans are plagued by more than 2.6 billion robocalls a month.

“Often we see Robocalls trying to sell you a service and in some cases, we see robocalls that try and scam you,” said Janice Kopec of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

There is a way you can try and limit those calls. The FCC has a list of links to various mobile and landline carriers to help you block or filter unwanted calls.You can also file complaints here with the FCC or the Federal Trade Commission.

But more needs to be done.

“We need phone companies to give us a shield to protect our phone numbers from the criminals,” said Stein.

That’s why the FCC and The Federal Trade Commission are joining forces for a robocall summit later this month.In addition, the FTC has created a Robocall strike force to encourage phone providers to develop better call blocking options

.“It’s not going to take the calls down to zero, but it should significantly reduce the number of unwanted calls that you receive,” said Kopec. Law enforcement from around the country are also trying to disconnect robocalls.

“I’m helping to lead a multi-state — dozens and dozens of states across the country — to engage the phone companies because it is a technological problem,’’ said Stein.

In April, the FTC AND FCC will hold a tech expo to see what kind of innovations can be used to help defeat the robocall plague.If you want to dig deeper into your telemarketing rights as a consumer, this link by the Consumer Federation of America will help you understand your rights and offers advice on avoiding telephone scams.


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