Taking Back the ID

Fraudsters targeting your phone, college prep and paycheck

Do you even answer your cellphone anymore? Fraudsters are sending phone messages with spoofed area codes, numbers and names. Here’s how to avoid the scammers plus information on college test prep scams and online payroll check thefts.

Katie Franklin recently received a telephone call that didn’t seem unusual at first. Her caller ID indicated that it was her bank, and the caller knew some of her personally identifiable information (PII), including the last four digits of her debit card and Social Security number. However, Katie became suspicious when the caller asked her to verify both of these important pieces of information. She was smart enough to hang up because she suspected that the call was a scam. Katie was correct. It’s called caller ID spoofing.

Don’t trust your caller ID

On Oct. 31, 2018, Lisa Lake, a consumer education specialist for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), wrote an alert on its website about these types of relatively new telephone scams. (See Spear phishing scammers want more from you.) They’re similar in motive but differ in other respects.

The motive of any type of telephone or email spearphishing or spoofing scam is to attempt to get potential victims to reveal PII, which the fraudsters will use for identity theft purposes. Also, the scams give the impression that they’re from a legitimate organization. But the scams differ in that the name of the organization making the call is listed on the caller ID only in the caller ID phishing scam. 

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