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Sun Sep 23, 2018, 07:46 AM

Spam callers are spoofing actual numbers

Last edited Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:19 AM - Edit history (1)

Editing to clarify: the familiar prefixes were just what made me suspicious. The real problem is that they are calling me using actual phone numbers of people I know and talk to. The caller ID shows a friend's number, but when I answer, there is a recorded spam call or sustained silence. If I block the call without checking the caller ID, I then can't get calls from people I want to hear from. And I don't always check the ID before I answer. Furthermore, how is the blocker doing any good if I can't block spam calls that are using a spoofed ID?


Others besides me have noted that spam phone callers have been using numbers that show up in caller ID as being similar to local dialing codes. My phone number, for example, begins with 893 (not really), and I get very few if any legitimate calls with an 893 prefix. My spam phone calls had reached maybe ten/day, so I bought one of the stand-alone call blockers from Amazon. It came preprogrammed with known spam caller numbers and had room for 5000 more numbers.

Last week I answered a call from an old friend, who said he'd been trying to get hold of me but kept getting a strange message that we were too busy to talk to him and to stop calling us. I was dumbfounded and couldn't figure out what could have happened. Then I remembered that I hadn't received an important call I was expecting, and when I checked back was told that they'd tried to reach me several times.

I checked the log of numbers on my blocker, and there both those numbers were. I went through the 75 numbers I have blocked and found a couple more that were legitimate numbers. I deleted those.

Here is how my blocker works: when the phone rings, I answer and if I hear either a recorded message about my credit card or sustained silence, I push a button on my blocker--while I'm on the phone; it doesn't work unless you're actually on the line--and the calling number is blocked. So these spam callers are now using *real* phone numbers which they are somehow harvesting from my legitimate phone calls--ingoing or outgoing--and spoofing those numbers to get me to answer the phone.

I'm posting this for two reasons: One, to warn others that this might be happening, and two, to find out if anyone has any idea of what the hell is going on.

22 replies, 1063 views

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Spam callers are spoofing actual numbers (Original post)
cyclonefence Sep 2018 OP
Renew Deal Sep 2018 #1
cyclonefence Sep 2018 #3
Renew Deal Sep 2018 #4
brush Sep 2018 #2
Renew Deal Sep 2018 #5
bearsfootball516 Sep 2018 #6
CurtEastPoint Sep 2018 #7
cyclonefence Sep 2018 #15
dixiegrrrrl Sep 2018 #17
samnsara Sep 2018 #8
Jokerman Sep 2018 #9
Lochloosa Sep 2018 #10
Totally Tunsie Sep 2018 #18
discntnt_irny_srcsm Sep 2018 #11
cyclonefence Sep 2018 #16
discntnt_irny_srcsm Sep 2018 #19
MiniMe Sep 2018 #12
Callmecrazy Sep 2018 #13
raccoon Sep 2018 #14
ailsagirl Sep 2018 #20
Iggo Sep 2018 #21
Rhiannon12866 Sep 2018 #22

Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:12 AM

1. The local numbers are probably coincidental

This is the scam these days. They use local exchanges to get you to answer. They are probably also using your number to call people you know and donít know. Itís random.

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Response to Renew Deal (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:16 AM

3. But the problem is that they are using actual numbers

of people I call. I mentioned the local exchanges because that's what made me suspicious. They had actually called me using my friend's real number and the number of a surgeon I was waiting to hear from.

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Response to cyclonefence (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:18 AM

4. I've received calls back from people asking why I called them.

Itís random.

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:13 AM

2. I get a lot of those calls too with my area code. Just silence though.

I've learned that if no one says anything after five seconds I just hang up.

I have no idea why they call. Makes me wonder if someone up to no good is calling to see if I'm home.

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Response to brush (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:19 AM

5. Could take time for the automated system making the calls to connect the operator

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Response to brush (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:27 AM

6. Picking up the calls is usually the worst thing to do.

That tells them that they called a working number, and you're willing to pick up the call, so they'll start calling you more often.

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Response to bearsfootball516 (Reply #6)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:30 AM

7. BINGO. If they aren't in my contacts, they get voice mail. If they're real, they leave a message.

Otherwise I don't answer.

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Response to brush (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 01:07 PM

15. I have a feeling that those "silence" calls

are to try to find legitimate phone numbers. I think the offenders are robodialing numerical lists, and when someone answers, they know they have a real number, which can then be sold to telemarketers. If this is the case, letting the call go to the answering machine is no help at all.

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Response to cyclonefence (Reply #15)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 02:42 PM

17. Answering machine is the only way to avoid hearing the scammers, actually.


Everyone who knows me understands they will get voice message, after 2 rings. They then start talking and I pick up, or they leave a message and I can call back.

The robo calls get hung up on after 5 seconds by the answering machine.

I don't care if robocalls get the answering machine and know it is a real number, because I refuse to talk to anyone I don't know, a real person would leave a message,

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 08:31 AM

8. i get a lot of spam calls with local numbers but i have never noticed they are numbers...

...of ppl I know. I just block them if no answer or they are spam. No I dont have knee or back pain and NO my computer isnt compromised. Go away spammers!

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 09:20 AM

9. I've received spam calls from my own number.

My wife and I have both received calls from people who swear we called their number and hung up on them.

I don't know where they are harvesting the numbers from but spamming the caller ID isn't difficult.

I'm an administrator for a large phone system and it lets me set whatever caller ID I want on each line.

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 09:21 AM

10. I called myself once. Seriously, the number was my phone number.

Which is not possible. If you call yourself it goes to the voice mail.

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Response to Lochloosa (Reply #10)

Mon Sep 24, 2018, 08:34 PM

18. Same here, with my name also.

It was early on in this spoofing genre, and I looked at it like .

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 09:32 AM

11. If you're interested...

...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caller_ID_spoofing

There are 10,000 number permutations for each area code and exchange from 0000 to 9999. A single spammer, scammer or collection agency using a service of bit of hardware can make a dozen or more calls every minute. Using robotic dialing, all 10,000 possible numbers can be dialed in space of 13 hours if about 13 numbers are dialed per minute. IIRC 8AM to 9PM local time are the hours when businesses can call you.

The whole thing seems shady to me.

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Response to discntnt_irny_srcsm (Reply #11)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 01:09 PM

16. Wow n/t

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Response to cyclonefence (Reply #16)

Tue Sep 25, 2018, 04:52 PM

19. Isn't science wonderful

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 10:25 AM

12. I don't answer the phone any more unless it is from somebody I know

I've told people this, and if they actually leave a message, I will call them back. My voicemail is filled with hang-ups.

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 11:22 AM

13. I live in Florida but have an area code from Nevada...

It's easy for me to see when I have a spoofed number. I only have a few Nevada callers that would contact me and I know them by memory.

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 12:53 PM

14. See also my thread about somebody trying to spoof me, pretending to be credit union,


https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181126170


It's incredible how much of this is going on.

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Tue Sep 25, 2018, 05:54 PM

20. I make note of the callers' numbers, then add them to my block list

Only thing is, I'm allowed a maximum of 30 call blocks and I believe that the IRS spoofers take up nearly all of them.

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Tue Sep 25, 2018, 10:24 PM

21. Everybody I know shows up as a name on my phone, not a number.

If I'm lookin' at a number, I don't know 'em.

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Wed Sep 26, 2018, 02:39 AM

22. I got one of those calls for the first time today, I was grateful for the info here on DU

I was at the vet with my cat this afternoon, forgot my phone, and when I got back I found a voice message. It said "the IRS have a strong evidence that you have failed to file your actual income tax for the same" and "a non bailable arrest warrant has been filed under your name" and "to resolve this case you should immediately call this number." The voice sounded robotic and the number said it was from Florida (I'm in New York).

I have a financial advisor who handles my tax stuff so I would have called him if I believed it, but fortunately I had read about this on DU.

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