phone scams

Scammers are using call spoofing technology to mimic the real Delaware State Police phone number in order to scam state residents, Police say.

Here's the press release from the Delaware State Police:

"Dover – The Delaware State Police are issuing the following advisory in response to a recent phone scam trend involving a “spoofed phone number”.

The Delaware State Police have recently been made aware of multiple incidents in which individuals have received phone calls which appear on their caller ID as coming from the Delaware State Police. To further convince the recipient that the caller is an official representative of the Delaware State Police, the victim’s are advised to look up the phone number where the call is originating from. When the victim researches the number it does appear to be a working Delaware State Police phone number.

Caller ID spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity as well as appearing as an official organization or entity. 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

During these most recent calls the recipient is convinced that a family member needs money wired to them due to being injured, for payment of a traffic ticket or for bail. The scammers are very convincing and even have the alleged family member in need crying on the phone, further playing on the emotional vulnerability of the victim. The majority of these recent calls have been made to out of state individuals from multiple states nationwide.

The Delaware State Police will never request payment for fines, traffic tickets or bail. All these transactions are conducted by the respective court systems and never over the phone. Electronic payments are also never requested via phone for court matters.

If someone is calling regarding a family member, do not offer any personal information about yourself or the family member. Immediately attempt to contact the family to verify their status on your own. Indicators of scam calls are threats, orders to not hang up and other statements about immediacy.

The Federal Communications Commissions has provided the following tips to avoid spoofing scams:

You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be extremely careful about responding to any request for personal identifying information.

Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.

If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should 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 or if you are at all suspicious.

If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.

Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.

If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.

Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls. Information on available robocall blocking tools is available at fcc.gov/robocalls."

Rob Sussman is the Delaware 105.9 Afternoon host. Listen to him from 3-6 pm weekdays!