WICHITA, Kan. - KAKE News has been contacted by those surprised to see their own names and phone numbers displayed on their caller ID devices during incoming calls. They don't know if they should answer, nor do they understand the point of the phone call.
This practice has actually been used legally by police, private investigators and collection agencies for years.
"Spoofing" uses technology called VOIP, which places a phone call from the internet, using any display number and name that's chosen. The caller is counting on you to pick up out of curiosity when you see your own name. and once you answer, whatever scam they're launching, goes into play.
We see this a lot of times too, in the scams that are talking about how there's a warrant for your arrest," says Denise Groene of the Kansas Better Business Bureau. "They'll put the organization calling, like the Wichita Police Department. So, that way, it looks more legitimate to the phone call and makes it more believable that's who's truly calling you."
So, how do you trust anyone who's calling you?
If the incoming caller id matches your name and number, don't let your curiosity get the better of you or try to confront the caller. Chances are, it's all a phishing attempt to steal your personal information.
"We just recommend you hanging up," Groene says. "You don't want to provoke these folks. They really don't have your best interests at heart. So it's best just to end the call."
Congress enacted the "Truth in Caller ID Act" back in 2010, making spoofing illegal. So, the better business bureau suggests:
1. don't trust that the caller id on your readout is legit.
2. if you didn't initiate the call yourself, never give out your financial information.
3. and to be safest of all, once again, just don't answer.