Using your number to scam others

WASHINGTON – It may not affect victims’ bank accounts, but a phone scam is unnerving a Maryland woman and it could easily happen to anyone.

Over a three week period, Sylvia Livingston of Accokeek, Md., was getting as many as 40 return calls a day. But Livingston had not called any of the numbers.

Livingston’s phone number had been “spoofed,” meaning a scammer had stolen her number and used it to make calls. And Livingston’s number was showing up on the caller ID.

In several cases, the people on the other end were angry because the scammer was rude or asked for their minor child, and they called Livingston’s number to complain.

Livingston has filed a complaint with the FCC.

There is a law against phone spoofing, called the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, but it’s unclear what if anything can be done to prevent it from happening.

If you are contacted by a scammer, the FCC suggests you do not give out personal information in response to an incoming call.

On its website it says, “Identity thieves are clever – they often pose as representatives of banks, credit card companies, creditors, or government agencies to get people to reveal their account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords and other identifying information.”

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