The Dangerous Implication with Spoofed Robo-Calls

| general |

I'm not sure how frequently you all receive "robo-calls" on your mobile phone, but a recent twist is making them more dangerous along the lines of "phishing" email scams. Traditionally, a robo-call was just an automated recording selling you something. Now, the robo-callers are "spoofing" their Caller ID number so that the calls look to be coming from any number they choose.

From my experience, the numbers more and more share a prefix with my own number (e.g., my area code, followed by my next 3 digits). This means at some point, it's possible that a robo-call or robo-text will appear on Caller ID to be from a number in your address book. This practice is illegal, but given its prevalence, it seems to be worth it for the scammers.

To make this concrete: my co-worker got an angry call from a person at a random number who said my co-worker had just called them 3 times in a row. (He hadn't.) Another friend receives several robo-calls every single day. The scammers can pretend to be calling from any phone number.

This blog post by the Twilio CEO gives some background to how the situation got to this point, and authorities and companies are working on a solution. I think everyone already ignores calls from numbers they don't recognize, especially if it says Unknown Caller, but the main point now is that, at some point, it may be a number you do recognize, and that is potentially very dangerous.

It's no reason to panic---just something to be realistic about.

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