Don’t Fall for Scam Artists’ ‘Spoofing’

Sometimes we forget how prudent it is to follow the old rule of thumb:?If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. To that we would add that if it sounds too bad to be true, one also should beware.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a consumer protection warning this week. It regarded “spoofing” used in some telephone scam operations.

“Spoofing” uses technology to make a telephone’s caller ID function display whatever number and identifier the caller desires. For example, a call appearing to come from a law enforcement agency may be from a scammer, instead.

The possibilities for criminals are endless. A caller claiming to be from the Lottery Commission and asking for a credit card number to collect a prize is a fake. In the “too bad to be true” category, a call appearing to come from a sheriff who is insisting on credit-card payment of a fine also is not legitimate.

Don’t trust your caller ID, in other words. The best advice is that if there is any doubt about the origin of a telephone call to you, hang up, look up the correct number in the phone book, and call back to verify.