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Newton Police Department

Posted on: October 26, 2020

"Neighbor spoofing" is a common type of phone scam

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Are you experiencing an increase in the number of "local" calls to your home or cell phone? You’re not alone. This phenomenon is called “neighbor spoofing” and it’s a caller ID spoof strategy being used by phone scam artists in an attempt to get people to answer the phone. "Neighbor spoofing" is a common type of phone scam. 

Con artists and robocallers use technology to modify what phone numbers appear on caller ID, impersonating phone numbers from neighbors, friends and local businesses to try to get you to answer the call. In many instances, it is a random number with the same area code and first three digits as your own phone number. In other cases, the number displays as coming from a local business or person with whom you’ve previously communicated. 

The Better Business Bureau shared the following tips to identify and handle "Neighbor spoofing" phone calls: 

  • Avoid answering calls from phone numbers you don’t recognize, even if they appear to be local. 
  • Be aware that phone numbers of local businesses, including doctor’s offices and/or insurance agents, may appear to be calling you. 
  • If you’re not certain whether the call is legitimate or a spoof, hang up and dial the known phone number for the contact to verify the communication, especially if personal and/or financial information is being requested. 
  • There are call blocking apps that may help decrease the amount of spam calls, including those using a spoof caller ID. Your phone carrier may also provide a similar service or offer advice. 
  • Make sure your phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry.

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