Today, a member notified us of a phone call he received from a local number with “Downeast Credit Union” showing up on the Caller ID. It was an automated call trying to sell him insurance for medical services. He only answered because it showed our name. Luckily this member disconnected the call and contacted the Credit Union on our main phone line to let us know.
This member experienced a practice referred to as “neighbor spoofing,” “phone number spoofing” or “caller ID spoofing,” and it’s one of the tricks scammers are using to get you to answer your phone. In most cases, your phone number has been randomly targeted and the tactic is often effective. Seeing a local number on your caller ID can make answering the call hard to resist — after all, it could be your child’s school calling or maybe a neighbor who’s in a bind. But for many of us these days, it’s rarely one of these legitimate callers; instead it is someone who’s attempting to deceive you before you’ve even answered.
There are several easy ways to avoid being scammed or solicited by spoofing. Consider these tips from the Federal Communications Commission:
– Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
– 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 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.
– 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, debit card and credit card numbers, or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
– Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
– If you have a voicemail 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. The FCC allows phone companies to block robocalls by default based on reasonable analytics. More information about robocall blocking is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.
Further, Downeast Credit Union and Downeast Insurance will never call you seeking personal or financial information. If you ever have any questions or concerns about any of your Downeast accounts or services, please contact one of our friendly, local member service representatives at 800-427-1223.
Learn more about spoofing: www.fcc.gov/spoofing
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