What is so dangerous about calling unknown phone numbers?

Calling unknown phone numbers can be dangerous because it can result in unwanted or unsolicited communication, such as telemarketing or scam calls. Additionally, it can lead to unwanted charges on your phone bill, and in some cases, it can even put you at risk of identity theft or fraud. It's always best to be cautious when providing personal information or engaging in communication with someone you don't know.

What is a identity theft or fraud and what can happen?

Identity theft is when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, or credit card information, without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. This can lead to financial losses, damage to your credit score, and difficulty obtaining credit or loans in the future. Additionally, identity theft can cause a lot of stress and take a lot of time and effort to resolve.

Scam calls can come in many forms, but some common characteristics include:

  • The caller claims to be from a government agency or well-known organization, such as the IRS or a bank.
  • The caller is asking for personal information, such as a social security number, credit card number, or bank account number. Legitimate organizations will not ask for this information over the phone.
  • The caller is pressuring you to make a payment, often through a wire transfer or gift card. This is a common tactic used by scammers.
  • The caller's phone number may appear to be from a legitimate organization, but it is actually a spoofed number. This can be difficult to detect, but you can try calling the organization back at a number you know is legitimate to verify the caller's identity.
  • The caller may ask for you to verify personal information that they already know. This is a tactic used by scammers to make you believe they are a legitimate organization.
  • They may ask you to pay with gift card or wire transfer. This is a common tactic used by scammers, because once you've sent the payment, it's difficult to trace and recover.

It's important to be cautious when receiving unexpected calls and to never give out personal information or make payments over the phone unless you are absolutely sure the caller is legitimate.

What is Caller ID spoofing?

Caller ID spoofing is the practice of altering the information transmitted to a telephone caller's Caller ID display to falsely indicate the origin of the call. For example, this phone number has been conspicuous in the past. This is often done to conceal the identity of the caller, or to impersonate a different individual or organization. Caller ID spoofing can be done using various methods, such as using a caller ID spoofing service, a VoIP application, or manipulating the caller ID information at the telephone exchange level. Caller ID spoofing is illegal in some countries and can be used for fraud or harassment.

How do I protect myself?

Do Not Call Lists

The National Do Not Call Registry is a list of phone numbers that telemarketers are prohibited from calling. It was created by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2003 in order to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls. Consumers can add their phone numbers to the registry by visiting the FTC's website or calling a toll-free number. Once a number is on the registry, telemarketers are prohibited from making calls to that number, except for certain exceptions, such as calls made by or on behalf of charities or political organizations. Telemarketers are also required to periodically download the most current version of the registry and check their call lists against it to ensure they are in compliance. Failure to comply with the registry can result in penalties.