AG warns of new scam technology

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 21, 2015

Friday, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood issued a warning to Mississippians concerning phone scam technology that is said to challenge the savviest consumer.
In a release, the attorney general said that scammers realize consumers are most likely to reject phone calls from unfamiliar numbers.
“They use caller ID spoofing technology to impersonate a known or trusted phone number to trick potential victims into answering the phone,” Hood said in the release.
The scam works like this: The phone rings and the consumer recognizes the number. The caller ID might show the number of a local business, a neighbor or even the consumer’s own name and number. Because of the familiarity with the number, the consumer answers the phone, the release states.
“Unfortunately, technology has evolved, and we can no longer fully trust that the number displayed is the number that is actually calling us,” the Attorney General said in the release. “Our advice has always been to answer only those calls from known numbers, but that won’t work when the call identification has been spoofed, or is displaying incorrect information.”
According to the release, in 2010, Mississippi enacted the Caller ID Anti-Spoofing Act to monitor and prohibit caller ID spoofing. However, in 2012, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the state law when it found the scammers had a First Amendment right to spoof phone numbers and upheld the legality “non-harmful spoofing.”
The AG’s office offers the following tips to avoid these types of scams.
–– Do not answer the phone for a call from your own number.
–– Remember caller ID can be manipulated and don’t rely on what appears on the screen.
–– The consumer should hang up as soon as he or she realizes the call is a scam.
–– Be suspicious of those who are vague when identifying themselves over the phone.
–– Do not wire or send money to unknown people or organizations.
–– Do not call the scammer back.
–– Do not provide personal information including, bank account, credit card or social security numbers over the phone.
–– Scammers may threaten to send in local law enforcement agencies, but don’t believe them. If physical safety is threatened, report it to the local authorities.
For more information about scams visit the consumer section of the attorney general’s website at People who suspect they have been a victim of a scam should contact the Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-281-4418.

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