ALPENA, MI – Scammers are making the rounds once again. They are targeting the Alpena area. If you are not familiar with what Caller ID Spoofing is, you need to educate yourself about it.
Caller ID Spoofing is when a scammer will use a piece of computer software to hide the telephone number they are actually using to make illegal phone calls. That software will show on the Caller ID receiving end a number that has been programmed in to indicate a legitimate working local telephone number. In the Alpena area it appears that these scammers are working with a series of local telephone numbers to confuse those who are getting the illegal calls.
Once you get a call like this, the person on the other end will want to talk to you about your credit card balances. The scammers could be using other tactics but this is the one that is currently being reported.
Under no circumstances should you ever give out personal information to an entity or person that you are not absolutely certain they are with a company or organization that you are familiar with. Giving out personal information can cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars, ruined credit, a possibility of having to file for bankruptcy because of the illegal use of your personal information and then finally the stress, frustration and heartache that each illegal act by another person can cause.
If you or someone you know is having the issue of their telephone number being used in a scam, here are steps that you need to take. Take heart in the process. This part is also very frustrating. Call your telephone service provider to file a complaint about the problem with them. Confirm with your telephone provider that they have actually entered into their computer system the problem that you are experiencing. Ensure that you get the name of the person entering that information. This puts your telephone service provider on notice that there is a very important issue or problem that is happening that they need to be aware of. This also makes a record to protect you as the consumer.
What is very frustrating is that a telephone service provider like Charter Communications does not have the ability to trap or capture this type of illegal activity within their own network. Inquiries were made to Charter Communications about this very problem and they have confirmed that they do not have the technology in place to stop these types of issues. Many individuals who are technology savvy are shaking their heads over this revelation.
One must also remember that as technology advances, so do the aspirations of the criminal. The criminal always seems to be two steps ahead of the law.
Next you need to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commisson (FCC). This complaint needs to be filed online at http://www.fcc.gov/complaints. It is very easy to do. Ensure that you provide as much detailed information as possible in this report.
The FCC and State Police have been flooded with calls and complaints about phone scams.
Another means of protecting your number is to add it to the National Do Not Call Registry. Will this stop the scammers? Probably not. But it does add a small layer of protection from unwanted telephone calls. You can add your number to the Registry here. Your house phone and your cell phone number can be added to that list.
You are very encouraged to alert your family, friends and especially the elderly about this very issue plaguing the community. Our senior citizens are most vulnerable to these types of scams. Many senior citizens do not know about or understand how these illegal operations work. Please take the time to sit down with them to explain what the issue is and what to do and not do. Too many times we hear of stories about the elderly being ripped off. It is up to all of us to protect each other.
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