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BBB Tip of the Week: Ways to avoid neighbor spoofing robocalls

By Lauren Hall Marketplace Manager

Most of us have received those deceptive, unwanted phone calls. We get a phone call from an unknown number and since it might be someone important, we answer the call. It turns out to be another prerecorded robocall.

Scammers now have a new trick up their sleeve to try to get consumers to answer their phones. Con artists and robocallers are now using technology to modify their phone number with the same area code and first three digits as your own phone number to appear on your caller ID. This is called neighbor spoofing. In other cases, the number will display as the same number of a nearby doctor’s office, grocery store or other local business or person living in the area.

These calls all have the same goal: to get you to pick up the phone. Neighbor spoofing is especially tricky because scammers trick you into thinking it’s someone in your community.

According to the National Do Not Call Registry Data Book for Fiscal Year 2017, robocalls were the No. 1 call type in 2017 with more than 4 million complaints filed. Although it’s difficult to prevent robocalls completely, there are tips consumers can follow to help them avoid the scam.

BBB offers these tips to help identify and avoid neighbor spoofing phone calls:

Consumers should avoid answering calls from numbers they do not recognize. Legitimate contacts will leave a message and, even if a scammer leaves a message, this will give consumers time to think about what is being asked of them.

Avoid pressing any numbers on the keypad. Consumers should be cautious of automated messages asking them to “Press 9” to be taken off their call list. It’s best to just hang up. Pressing a number on the keypad is a way to alert the caller that they have reached an active number.

Just hang up. It is imperative that consumers are aware that scammers are calling and impersonating local businesses, organizations and charities. The best thing one can do to prevent from falling victim is to hang up, find the appropriate phone number and call them directly to speak to a representative.

Join the Do Not Call Registry. This can be done at Although this won’t stop scammers, consumers will receive fewer calls, making it easier to spot fraudulent ones.

Report the number. Write down the phone number of those callers violating the Do Not Call Registry and file a scam report with the BBB Scam Tracker and on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call List.

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