Fake phone numbers can be a real problem

Staff at Jefferson Telecom reports receiving numerous phone calls from customers about phone scams recently. The Jefferson police department’s daily report verifies that, as there have been several reports of attempted phone scams.  One Jefferson business lost $1,400 to a scammer claiming to be Alliant Energy and threatening to disconnect the restaurant’s utilities if alleged past due amounts weren’t paid within an hour.

Jefferson Telecom explains the “curiosity cons,” in which the caller has used a fake phone number that shows on Caller ID as a local number. Customers answer the call, only to find it’s a telemarketer or a scam call.

The following information is provided by Jefferson Telecom:

“This scenario is made possible through the use of phone spoofing software that allows unscrupulous callers to display fake phone numbers to increase the likelihood that people will answer calls. In addition to spoofing a number that appears to be coming from your neighborhood, these crooks may even spoof your own phone number, knowing you might be curious enough to answer.

“Phone spoofing allows spam callers to be more strategic in their methods to get you on the phone. Because each spoofed call can be placed from a unique fake number, they are close to impossible to trace to the true origin of the caller. The FTC and FCC cannot easily track these phone numbers because they simply do not have the technological infrastructure, and it’s unlikely they’ll have it anytime soon.

“Not only are spoofed spam calls hard to trace, they’re also relatively cheap to make. It may cost a crook only a few cents per minute to place a spoofed call, which is a very small investment considering the money these scammers can fraudulently collect from unsuspecting people.

“While you can’t stop spoofed calls from coming to your home, you can be careful about which calls you answer. If the number isn’t familiar or you have any doubts, simply don’t pick up. A legitimate caller will leave a message, which you can return later. Should you answer a call that you suspect is a scam, hang up immediately.”

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