Getting spam calls from numbers similar to my own

  • My phone number is 456-123-XXXX (American phone number + area code). Over the past few months I get fairly regular spam calls from other numbers also beginning with 456-123-XXXX, where the last four digits are always different. The calls are clearly spam, telling me I won a trip and then asking for my credit card number. After getting one such call, I ignored it and called the number back. The guy that answered seemed genuinely confused and said he hadn't called me. I warned him that his number was likely being used for spam. I've already called my carrier, but the operator who answered seemed totally confused and basically just suggested I change my number, which I really don't want to do. My number is attached to a cell phone, although when I originally got it 15 years ago it was a landline.

    So... what do I do? Also, I'm curious as to what's actually happening... as well as if my number is also being used to spam other people.

    The spammer probably uses Caller ID spoofing. So, I'm sorry to say, they may be spoofing your number as well when calling other people.

    For what it's worth, if it were possible to block all 456-123-XXXX numbers, that would probably work for me. I haven't lived there in fifteen years and I don't know anyone with that number pattern.

    Here’s something interesting: the same thing happened to me, but *from my mom’s old, now-disconnected phone number*. I never actually removed that number from her contact, so it showed up as “Mom” on the caller id, then it was spam. Fascinating and extremely annoying, because I usually pick up from area codes that I’m familiar with out of habit.

    Heck, I once got a spam call from *my own phone number*. It actually showed my own name, and I felt like I was in that one scene in that David Lynch movie.

  • GdD

    GdD Correct answer

    5 years ago

    The telephone system has been designed so that a caller can replace their phone number with a fake, and some unscrupulous companies use this to change their number to appear to be local to the person they are calling. They aren't using specific numbers of people you know, just something picked at random. The thinking is that a person is more likely to pick up if they think it's a local call.

    It is illegal to spoof your number with intent to defraud in the US and Canada, so what they are doing is probably against the law. You could report this to the phone company and they may look into it. Other than that you can't do much about this unless your phone company offers an add-on service to prevent it.

    To add to this (I've also been getting these calls), I think the line of reasoning is that they hope you will recognize the number because it looks closer to your own number you might be more likely to pick up.

    @timgcarlson Let me know if you find a solution. I've just learned to ignore them

    The FCC has a consumer's guide on Spoofing and Caller ID, which they update periodically with new information (e.g., hurricane insurance scams).

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM