GREENSBORO, NC – Your phone rings and your caller ID tells you it’s someone you know or a government agency that you’re familiar with. But then the caller doesn’t sound like what you expect.
It becomes clear, the number has been spoofed.
How often does this happen? So often, the North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and AG's from 29 other states signed a letter this week urging the FCC to adopt new rules that would allow telephone providers to block illegal robocalls-- including spoofed calls.
Unfortunately, spoofing is all too easy. Our news partners in Denver explain how it's done.
“If you wanted to be Mickey Mouse, You could be Mickey Mouse, "
explains cyber security expert John Sileo. "So here's the thing, we've become incredibly dependent upon that identifier, the caller ID.”
Using an app we won't name, and using his phone, he calls this phone, pretending to be the reporter.
"I can call you as your wife, as your doctor, your lawyer. I can call as emergency services."
"Will I ever be able to trust my caller id ever again?" The short answer is, no.
Spoofing isn't going to stop anytime soon. So, how can you protect yourself?
If you get an unexpected call from a government agency or a company and they're asking for personal information--- be suspicious.
Hang up. Instead of using whatever number the caller might have given you, look up the number yourself on your account statement or your credit card or the company’s website.
And here's the last and maybe the most important thing--- a government agency, a utility company, will never take payment in green dot cards, itunes gift cards or pre-paid credit cards. If you're asked for that kind of payment-- it's a scam.