Caller ID spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally, but also can be used legitimately, for example, to display the toll-free number for a business.
Scammers want more from you....
“I’m calling from [pick any bank]. Someone’s been using your debit card ending in 2345 at [pick any retailer]. I’ll need to verify your Social Security number — which ends in 1234, right? — and full debit card information so we can stop this unauthorized activity...”
So the caller ID shows the name of your bank. And the caller knows some of your personal details. Does that mean it’s legit? No. It’s a scam — and scammers are counting on the call being so unsettling that you might not stop to check your bank statement.
We’ve started hearing about phone scams like this, which combine two scammer tricks: spear phishing and caller ID spoofing. In a phishing attempt, scammers may make it look like they’re from a legitimate company. And when they call or email with specific details about you — asking you to verify the information in full (things like your Social Security number or address) — that’s called spear phishing.
The other nasty wrinkle in this scam is caller ID spoofing. That’s when scammers fake their caller ID to trick you into thinking the call is from someone you trust. They can also send you text messages that may seem legitimate - i.e. reporting that your debit card has been frozen. They may ask you to call them, click on a link in the message, or give them your full credit card number. Never respond to these texts. Do not call the numbers they provide or click on the links they send to you via text message or email. FMB will only send you text messages if you have signed up for FMB Alerts.
How to KNOW it's FMB calling
We will always leave a specific message as to what we are calling about if we get your voicemail. We will always leave our name so you will know who to ask for when you call back. When calling back, call the number of your branch and ask to speak to the person who left you the message.
Tips to avoid spoofing scams
You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be extremely careful about responding to any request for personal identifying information.
- Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
- Don’t assume your caller ID is proof of whom you’re dealing with. Scammers can make it look like they’re calling from a company or number you trust.
- If you answer the phone and the caller - or a recording - asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
- Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with "Yes" or "No."
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
- Don’t trust someone just because they have personal information about you. Scammers have ways of getting that information.
- If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
- Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
- If you gave a scammer your personal or banking information, contact us immediately for assistance or go to IdentityTheft.gov.
- If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
- Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls. Information on available robocall blocking tools is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.
Even if you didn’t give personal information to the scammer, you can report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission. Your reports help them understand what’s happening and can lead to investigations and legal action to shut scammers down.