Wait, your own number is calling? It’s happening here. It’s a scam.
Palm Beach County residents are getting calls that seem to be from their own cell number. Received one of these? A reporter and his son did
A recorded message that purports to be from AT&T says an account has been compromised and asks people to punch in the last four digits of their social security number.
It’s just confusing and disconcerting enough to throw some folks off balance. They may wonder if only a phone company could call them from their own number, so there might be something to it.
Don’t respond. Hang up. It’s a scam to gather information that could be used to plunder accounts or steal your identity.
“These calls are not from AT&T,” said company spokeswoman Kelly Starling. “If any company calls you and asks for your personal information, that is a red flag. One of our tips on our new Cyber Aware website is never give such information to someone who calls you. Call the company at the number found on your bill. You can read more helpful tips for all consumers at www.att.com/cyberaware.”
The call appears to be from your own phone number through a technological trick called “spoofing.” This is how scammers appear to be calling from the IRS or from across town in other ploys. That is why, unfortunately, you can’t take the caller ID at face value 100 percent of the time.
Your own number on the caller ID is a relatively new twist, though reports started popping up in other states in recent months. It’s also a sure sign of trouble. Real phone companies don’t do this.
Charles Elmore writes for the state’s best blog, as recognized in 2016 Florida Press Club awards. He has written investigative, business, sports and government stories and columns with The Palm Beach Post and The Atlanta Constitution. National Headliner, Florida Press Club, Best of Cox and APSE awards have honored work ranging from covering the Olympics, French Open, and Wimbledon to serving as state bureau chief in Tallahassee. He won the 2014 and 2015 Sunshine State Award for consumer reporting and 2016 Florida Press Club awards for business writing and best affiliated blog. He and wife Jenifer have three children, Holly, Shelby, and Andrew.