“Spoofing” is when a caller falsifies the information that shows up on your caller ID display. Scammers often use spoofing so it looks like an incoming call is coming from a local number. They may also spoof a number from a company or a governmental agency that you may already know and trust. If you answer, they can use scam scripts to try to steal money or your personal information—they can also use that moment to deliver harassing messages.
You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed so it’s important to be extremely careful about answering calls from unknown numbers or individuals asking for personal identifying information. If you are unsure if a call is truly from a company or agency, the best thing to do is hang up and call the phone number found on an account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s website. For more information and to learn about staying safe from spoofing, visit https://www.fcc.gov/spoofing.