In March, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a warning that scammers are “spoofing” DHS phone numbers. This means your caller ID will show phone numbers that are assigned to DHS but the caller is actually a scammer. In this instance, scammers are posing as law enforcement or immigration officials. Some may tell you that you have been the victim of identity theft, and then the scammer asks you to verify your personal information. Don’t fall for it!
Last week, the Franklin Police reported that the Williamson County Health Department has received complaints that scammers are calling, claiming to be from the Health Department in order to obtain private Medicare information. This warning is similar to an announcement the Tennessee Department of Health reported a year ago.
Scammers often use spoofing techniques that allow the company name to display on your phone. Caller ID spoofing is the deliberate deception of falsifying information displayed on your Caller ID. Do not rely on the display. If you receive a phone call asking for any kind of private information, it’s best to simply hang up.
Tips to avoid phone and spoofing scams:
Don’t answer calls from an unknown number. When you answer, you’ve just confirmed that your phone number is legitimate.
If the caller, or recording, requests you push a button to stop receiving calls – hang up.
Do not respond to questions especially ones with a “Yes” or “No” answer.
If you get a call from a representative of a legitimate company, hang up and call the number on your account statement or on the company’s website to verify the original call.
Never give out personal or private information.
Do not allow the caller to force you into an immediate decision or action.
Resources: FCC, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Franklin Police Dept. and TN Dept. of Health