Watch Out for "Spoofing" Robocalls

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    The Better Business Bureau is warning residents of a new phone scam called "spoofing," which programs robocall computers with sophisticated new technology to get you to pick up for telemarketers.

    "The same computers that dial the numbers in sequence will also use the number it's calling and send the data out, so the recipient will see their own phone number appearing on the caller ID," said Howard Schwartz of the Better Business Bureau.

    Longtime New Fairfield resident Dot Potocki fell victim for the first time a couple weeks ago. On the line was a telemarketing robocall with an offer to lower credit card rates.

    "It was just weird and because it's weird you just pick it up," said Potocki, explaining that she's seen her own number pop up on caller ID.

    According to Schwartz, two potential problems can arise as a result of these calls. First, if you fall for the interest rate scam and give out your credit card number, you're exposed to fraud. Second, if you press "1" thinking you'll get off the list, think again.

    "If you pick up, if you press '1,' you are confirming that it's a working number and you can bet your bottom dollar that you'll be getting more calls," warned Schwartz.

    Potocki, meanwhile, says she's gotten smarter. She's started saving all the robocall numbers to alert herself not to answer because otherwise, it's hard to resist.

    "I think I'm from the generation that still picks up the phone. My kids see something they don't know, they don't even answer it."

    The Federal Trade Commission has been aggressive in combating robocalls. Traditional landlines have technology that's so old there's doesn't seem to be a viable solution to the problem.

    Call-blocking technology called Nomorobo creates a "blacklist" of numbers, but only works with Internet-based phone service. There are also wireless call-blocking apps available for Android smartphones, but not for the iPhone.