The Delaware State Police is issuing an advisory in response to a recent phone scam involving a “spoofed phone number.”
The Delaware State Police were made aware of two incidents in which individuals received a phone call from a female claiming to be an agent from Dover. The caller identified herself as Agent Lisa Smith and provided a badge number #K4L14799. The caller advised the victims that an abandoned vehicle was found in Texas with their name and Social Security number. The caller then provided the victims with several addresses and asked them to confirm where they have resided in the past. The caller suggested to the victims to look up the phone number in which she was calling from so that the victims would see that it is a Delaware State Police issued phone number. The caller advised the victims that if they did not provide her with the information she was seeking, she would send the police to their residence immediately.
Caller ID spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsified the information transmitted to caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally.
The Federal Communications Commissions provided tips to avoid spoofing scams:
— Be careful about responding to any request for personal identifying information.
— Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If the call is answered, hang up immediately.
— If the caller, or a recording, asks that the person hit a button to stop getting the calls, just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
— Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “yes” or “no.”
— Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls.
— If an inquiry comes from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on the account statement, in the phone book or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. Legitimate sources will usually send a written statement in the mail before calling, particularly when asking for payment.
— Use caution if callers press for information immediately.
— Set a password for voicemail accounts. A hacker could spoof a home phone number and gain access to voicemail if no password is set.
— Talk to the phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps to block unwanted calls. Information on available robocall blocking tools is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.
Many of these scams are difficult to investigate. They will target persons of all age groups. The Delaware State Police is asking citizens to remember the tips previously mentioned to not become a victim of one of these scam artists.
Those who think they may be a victim of this scam should contact their local law enforcement agency. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware crime stoppers at delaware.crimestoppersweb.com.