So *This* Is Why You Get Spam Calls From Numbers That Look Like Yours

August 01, 2018

As if getting a phone call doesn’t put us on edge already (who calls people anymore?!), robocalls have fostered a whole new level of phone anxiety. Who could possibly be calling me from Ballwin, Missouri? What does “Unknown” want from me? It’s all very mysterious and somewhat unnerving — especially when you get random calls from phone numbers that are a few digits off from your own.

According to the New York Times, this tactic is called “neighborhood spoofing,” and it’s used by scammers to increase the likelihood of people answering their calls. If a person recognizes the area code, they usually figure someone they know must be on the other end. But unfortunately, nowadays this isn’t usually the case.

In fact, 3.4 billion robocalls were made in the month of April this year alone. That’s about 900 million more calls per month in comparison to last year, the Times reports. The increase is so drastic because mass robocalls are becoming easier for both scammers and companies to execute and harder for the government to trace.

It would be one thing if these robocalls were simply annoying. But more often than not, those on the other end try and are successful at harvesting personal information or money from the unwitting public.

While the Federal Communications Commission and the The Federal Trade Commission continue their efforts to track, reduce the amount of, and charge those responsible for robocalling, screening robocalls remains in the hands of the public.

And unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot we can do about the matter. You can either answer and hang up, let the calls go to voicemail, or block numbers altogether. But be aware that sometimes “neighborhood spoofing” might actually be someone you know trying to get ahold of you.

We know we don’t owe money to the IRS and sorry, but we don’t have a credit card from that company. Please stop spamming us, scammers of the world. You’re annoying and we’re onto your BS.