Crooks spoof caller ID names, phone numbers

Virginia police say they've seen an alarming increase in phone scams targeting senior citizens and convicted sex o(Thinkstock)

The Maryland State Police want to warn you about crooks who are spoofing caller IDs to show a believable, plausible name matched with a real phone number.

“[Victims] see an actual legitimate phone number on their cellphones and, in this case, [the name] was Maryland State Government,” Maryland State Police spokeswoman Elena Russo said.

In one case, the phone number that was being spoofed belonged to the Leonardtown Barrack of Maryland State Police.

“The Maryland State Police will never call somebody and just ask for personal information,” Russo said.

Reports from all over the state include a number of scenarios. Sometimes the callers request information or money in the form of gift cards; sometimes they’re pleasant and charming, or they threaten to have uncooperative victims arrested.

“Just hang up the phone and contact your local state police barrack because this case will be investigated,” Russo advised.

The Federal Communications Commission recommends hanging up if someone calls asking for information or money, and claims they represent a company or a government agency.

To verify the caller’s authenticity, the FCC recommends calling the phone number that’s on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or agency’s website.

Lastly, you’ll usually get a written statement in the mail before receiving a phone call from a legitimate source, especially if you owe someone money.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up