Police officers in Idaho have posted a stark warning to senior citizens home alone for the holidays: don’t fall for phone scammers calling you from an Idaho numbers. Yes, unfortunately, scammers prey on lonely elders over the holidays as well, and ID spoofing is all the rage right now.
ID spoofing is when a person calls you and can put any number they want to on the caller ID of your mobile phone. For example, your phone can show the number of a local police station or a family member calling you whilst, unknowingly, a criminal is on the other end.
Dale Dixon, Chief Innovation Officer of Idaho police explains: “We see people using caller id spoofing for scams. It’s perfectly legal and i think the idea behind it is that somebody may think of it as a funny prank to pull, but scam artists exploit it. “
The trick is of course that people are suspecting of no-caller ID’s when their phone rings, but when it is a known number calling them, the story is different.
“When you see a phone number pop up on your screen that looks just like your phone number or says ADA County Sheriff, or the court, or maybe KBOI-TV…the thing it does, it creates curiosity in you. So you’re more likely to answer the phone.“
“So they’re using this as an excuse to scam people and they know that when you see your phone number with a different area code show up, you’re going to be curious and more likely to answer instead of just ignoring an unknown phone number. Who has my phone number with a different area code? That’s curious, and I’m going to pick up the phone and answer it.”
The sad truth is of course that people who are alone tend to want to get calls during the Christmas period, when all is dark and cold, and are therefore more susceptible to these kinds of calls, simply wanting someone to talk to.
“Most likely, you’re not having anything harvested off your phone if you answer one of these spoof calls. If you start talking to the scam artists and you start giving them information then you start to put yourself at greater risk.”
Therefore, given that dozens of people have already been victims of phone scams over the past month, the Idaho police warns you to never give out credit card information over the phone.