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Phone Number Has Been Spoofed! — What to Do to Fix the Problem

Phone Number Has Been Spoofed! — What to Do to Fix the Problem

Telemarketers and con artists alike will use all the means at their disposal to get access to your money. One of the more common weapons in their arsenal is caller ID spoofing, which has been growing significantly over the last decade thanks to technological advances.

Spam Is on the Rise

In the last year alone, the number of calls from automated spam callers, or robocalls, has increased in the US by 128%. The total number of spam calls comes in at a little over 25 billion in that time period, with the average person receiving 16 unwanted calls a month. This is causing people to simply stop answering their phones, especially when the number is unknown.

The ability to change the number that you appear to be calling from is called spoofing, and this is how a large number of malicious or unwanted calls still make it through. If your number has been used for spoofing, it can be a real nuisance, resulting in angry calls from people you don’t know, wondering why you keep calling them. So, let’s see what it’s all about, and what you can do.


What Is Spoofing?

Simply put, spoofing is when someone calls you, and the number that shows up on your phone isn’t the one that they are calling from. There are some legitimate uses for this, such as calling from your mobile during work hours and having your office landline number show up. You can also use it to provide the person you are calling with an 0800 number to call you back on.

But most of the time, the motivations aren’t so benign. Many telemarketers and scammers will try to get past people’s guards by pretending that they are calling from a local number. Only 46% of phone calls that aren’t saved to contacts are answered by the person on the receiving end, and pretending that you’re calling from the same area code is a good way to trick people into answering.

Why Do They Do It?

Around a quarter of all unwanted calls in the US are from telemarketers, and around the same number are from people attempting to pull off a scam. Often, they will pose as government agencies or as businesses in your area. This is how they gain access to personal details like your Social Security number.

Sometimes the purpose of the call is just to check that your phone number is a real one. If they manage to confirm that it is, they may start using it as their cover ID to hide behind. Often, they will have found your number simply by using a random number generator combined with an autodialer.

They just plug in the area code and start calling. They, they record which numbers result in someone answering the call. If the call is answered, that person’s number can be used to spoof the scammer’s ID.


What You Can Do If Your Number Has Been Spoofed?

If your number is being used for spoofing, there’s not much that you can do to immediately stop the issue. However, there are a few options that should solve your problem over time.

Report the Spoof

In the US: File a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – According to the FCC’s website, nobody is allowed to transmit misleading caller ID information with the intent to scam or defraud you. The penalties can go up to $10,000.

In the UK, you can contact Action Fraud by visiting their website – this is the UK’s reporting center for fraud and internet crime. You could also contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service. Even if you’re not in the country permanently, they should pass your complaint on to Trading Standards. Other countries have similar methods of dealing with this problem, and it shouldn’t be difficult to find out who you need to turn to.

Change Your Voicemail

If you are receiving lots of calls from people asking why they are getting telemarketing calls from your phone number, this can quickly cause you to not even want to look at your phone. If you have a voicemail service, you should change your message to inform people that your number has been spoofed. Advise them to block your number from calling them in the future.

Over time, as more and more people block your number, the spoofers will realize that the number is no longer of use to them and eventually they’ll move on to using a different phone number. This can take as little as a few hours, or it could take weeks. But eventually, you’ll be free from this nuisance.

Block Unknown Callers

While you’re waiting for your number to be abandoned by the spoofers, you might still receive calls from people demanding an explanation. If you want to stop these from making your phone buzz constantly, you can use a call blocking app like Hiya to automatically divert phone calls from unknown numbers to your voicemail.


What Did You Call Me?

If your phone number has been spoofed, it can be a massive pain in the backside for both you and the people on the receiving end of the calls. While you can’t instantly stop the spoofing from happening, you can report it to the relevant authorities, as well as making life more difficult for the people who stole your number.

If this has happened to you before, how long did it take for the spoofers to abandon your number? Tell us about the experience in the comments.

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12 thoughts on “Phone Number Has Been Spoofed! — What to Do to Fix the Problem”

T.Potter says:
I believe the phone companys are getting a kick back (money) from these people/business. With all of the advance technology today you cant convince me that this cant be stopped, they still perform these calls from a main number, phone companys dont show somewhere a number thats being used or forwarding by that main number or just by the shear numbers dialed by that main number would be clear indication of wrong doing. The phone company billing department should see this clearly. Where cloning people, smashing atoms there is something they could do if they wanted.
Kat says:
Just got a phone call from a stranger who hung up after I said hello. He was NOT the person who was on the number’s voicemail greeting, so I just relayed the message that HER number had been spoofed. Said thank you, and hung up. Had one text spam message from someone who was spoofing CSIS. They get REALLY angry when they get spoofed. It’s the CANADIAN CIA.
John says:
Spamming is not so bad as a spoofer using your number to call your credit card company and with some personal info withdrawing funds. Please use additional security measures for ALL your accounts that may be keyed off your phone number
Gutenberg says:
blame all crimes on liberal weak pussy law enforcement and pussy judges. enforce the fing laws already on the books and to the maximum penalty and all of societal garbage will disappear, as 50% of the world population gets put away for life… and it is what they deserve for their crimes.
BeCauze says:
And irritating comments like your should get the death penalty.
Janet says:
The trouble I have encountered is the spoofed number is a legitimate business HealthBridge which I would not want to block. The spoofer is Directv selling promo packages. So what do I do?
Linda Shively says:
In just 1 hour I received 13 calls. Each time the call comes from the same area code and next 3 digits with the last 4 being different. I have a home answering machine and of the 13 spoofed calls 7 left the same automated message about calling from Apple Support Advisor due to my account being breached and if I want to speak to a representative to dial 315-232-8257.. I turned off he answering machine and unplugged my phone line until tomorrow. Hopefully, the calls stop.
Sam says:
I don’t answer my phone unless the number is in my contacts. If it is a legit call, a message will be left. If not, I block the number. My concern is, since the spoofed numbers are real & I’ve blocked them, what if it is the number of a person, business or service I might need in the future????
Paul Johnson says:
I never respond to a number I don’t immediately recognize and personally know the person calling. I check voice messages at most once a day. For over a year I kept a log of every unwanted call and noticed a pattern which I passed onto the FTC. Apparently, if was a good lead because the number of calls where a message was left dropped over 80% and now the telephone company overlays the Caller ID of the suspicious calls with SPAM? My level of angst has dropped dramatically.
J says:
I found out today my number has been spoofed. I, also, have been receiving plenty of robocalls/spam and block the number every time. I filed a complaint with the FTC. I called my carrier. The rep made the connection more secure and advised to download one of the spam apps such as hiya. Changing the number is also an option. Use skype or a google phone # for personal and phone for everything else. I’m sure everyone that is being hacked is b/c so many online ordering forms require a phone number.
Barmzilla says:
Robocalls and spoofers are increasing over 100% each year. What use is it to report these? I have taken the time to file numerous complaints with FCC and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). They have impersonated law enforcement, legal entities, and even the FBI. The phone numbers are from across the US and even some international numbers now. The same robocalls from multiple locations, 2-4 a day. With 25 billion+ calls to chase down (maybe 50+ billion now that it is 2020), there likely is just nothing authorities can do with that volume.
i have had people call and cuss me out for calling them and then i have had people going to turn me in to the att general i get about 20 calls a day about why i called them im 66 with a bad heart i cant take the stress of this
M says:
I know how you feel, Brenda. Like you, I am elderly and have had my number spoofed. If you have a landline, get a call blocker and block all unknown callers. If you are using a cell phone download and call blocking app and do the same. Take care and don’t worry about the people who call and cuss at you. They are ignorant.
Diane F Maltese says:
I’m in the same boat. I changed my voicemail greeting by saying my number has been spoofed and unless your my friend, family or a business associate to please block my number from future calls.
William says:
I received a phone call with my name and home phone number. This happened three or four times in a row. I finally answered the last call and asked why they stole my phone number? I haven’t had anymore calls like that since.
Karen Gray says:

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Aug 12, 2019

1937 Articles Published