TARGET 2: When your own phone number is calling, it's a scam!

SUAMICO, Wis. (WBAY) - "It's kind of creepy that you see your phone number, that they've scammed your own name and phone number," Herb Stuart said.

There's a growing and disturbing trend in scam calls: Calls from your own phone number.

A Suamico couple contacted Target 2 asking, "Should we pick up?"

It was an ordinary morning for Herb and Joanne Stuart when they received their first unusual call.

"This call came through and it had our name -- my name -- on it and our phone number," Herb said.

He showed us his phone log from that morning with his name and phone number on Caller ID. "Total of six times in the same morning," Herb said.

He said they're used to getting robocalls. "Generally, if we don't recognize the phone number then we don't answer it."

But when his own number called, "My wife, Joanne, answered it, and of course it was a robocall."

She did exactly what the scammer wanted. One of the biggest tactics scammers use is simply to try and get you to pick up the phone.

"We had not heard about that one," Herb said, "and I'm sure there's a whole lot of other ones going on."

There were actually two scams at work here.

The Caller ID displaying your own number is called "neighbor spoofing."

The voice recording on the other end told them they had a computer problem, which is the tech support scam.

"The reference was to our computer, and that our IP address had been compromised in several different companies. And they identified themselves as Microsoft," Herb said.

We've reported both scams in our consumer alerts for years.

Earlier this month we talked with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection about these types of robocalls -- the number one consumer complaint in the state.

"'Neighbor spoofing' is the term. They make the Caller ID read however they want to. That's standard practice for scammers. They can do it easily with their computer systems," Jerad Albracht with Consumer Protection told us.

However tempting it is, don't pick up. It's a red flag when it's your own number.

"I think it's important for us to talk about and people know," Herb said.



 
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