Don’t Get Spoofed (Also, Why Curses Aren’t the Best Response to Getting a Call From a Scammer)

Did you just recently get a weird phone call from your own number?

Most likely what happened is the caller ID is being switched to that of another phone number–sometimes just that of someone in your area or, occasionally, to your own phone number. This is called spoofing.

In the last few days, multiple people in the Emerald Counties and beyond are getting calls that show the ID of the person being called. When the person called answers, a voice recording, purportedly from AT&T, requests the last four digits of their social security number on the pretext of dealing with a problem with their service.

Scammers use the ID of the person being called hoping curiosity will make their intended victim pick up the phone.

The Marin County Sheriff has issued a warning about this in the Facebook post embedded below.

This reporter has received two such calls. An attempt at entering a curse word in response was abruptly broken off when the first entry, a number “3”, was pushed.

According to this Federal Trade Commission advice, the best suggestion is to not answer the phone at all as this can lead to more calls. Sigh, we knew our mother would not approve of us responding with swear words. Now we find out that the Federal Trade Commission thinks we are idiots, too.



  • Kym thank you for posting this. I thought that if I answered the call to myself, the time-space continuum would collapse and we would cease to be.

  • I got one of those yesterday on my cell phone. Live in Eureka. I did answer it but immediately hung up when it was clear it was some kind of scam.

  • What happened to "you can hear a pin drop"?

    My cell phone rang and its very own number showed. Did not answer. In fact, I don’t answer any phone anytime unless I really know who it is… I think I am changing that rule to ‘speak to the machine’ and I will pick up if it is valid.

  • So far I haven’t received any phone calls from myself, but I have received several from my own little town (Blue Lake)…if I don’t recognize the number or name, and no one leaves a message, I don’t pick up. They seem to consider this encouraging as they continue to call me (in the hopes I’ll give in and answer?) but they don’t know me if they think that’s going to happen! I used to hear that if you blew a loud whistle into the phone, the caller would hang up, so you might consider that next time, if you just feel you MUST answer the phone.

    • I don’t know that a whistle will deter a recording but it might be somewhat satisfying until the cat scrambled away squalling.

      • Don’t want to egg anyone on, lowering myself to their lowliness.

        I’ve had two calls from the Treasury Dept. telling me that I needed to get a hold of them right away, blah blah blah. I hung up! Didn’t want to hear anymore. Just Don’t Answer!!!

        • I highly recommend your approach. Occasionally, I descend into immaturity.

        • The trouble with not answering is that someone you really want to talk to may call from a different or unrecognized phone. I missed a call from my veterinarian because he was calling from his mobile phone which has a blocked number. There are no right answers for every situation. The curse of living in a fraud ridden world.

  • The whistle mimics the audio of a fax line so maybe that triggers a do-not-call..

  • Over the last year, I have received over 100 calls from over 50 different #’s from a 768-_ _ _ that says ID Hydesville. (Home phone as no cell where I live.) At first I answered a couple, and was an add for winning a free 6 night trip. Voice was identical to a live girls voice, but automated. I began blocking them, but just keeps coming with a different 768-_ _ _ #. I stopped blocking when it was at 40 #’s; and redial says it is “Not in Service”. One # was actually a friend’s home #, with their name ID, but they were not aware of anything. Just constant random 768 #’s. Pretty strange..? I still get them from many different Hydesville 768-_ _ _ #. AT&T hasn’t a clue what to do, so I just don’t answer…………???

    • Yes. I tend to hang up whenever that excessively perky female voice comes on after a pause. One of these days I’m sure I’m going to rudely hang up on a perfectly lovely lady looking to be helpful.

  • Lol i would simply waste the scammer’s time😂 i have an app that provides fake incoming phone numbers so i’d be harrassing them

  • >”The whistle mimics the audio of a fax line…”

    You can download the fax (or modem) ‘sound’ from the internet.
    Save it, then play it back as the leading signal on your answering machine.
    Robot calls will hang up, and put your number on an internal ‘do not call list’.

  • I got one yesterday, kinda sets off a panick a little, I didn’t enter any didgets and it hung up, I tried to call back but it just activated my voice mail 😂🤣😂🤣😂
    An hour later I got another call, this time they asked for my wife’s ex husband and said that name was wanted in a fraud case and to call this number back but no one would answer….

  • When there are enough of us in the room our preferred response to a human scammer, particularly Microsoft “Support”, is to stage a murder.

  • I’ve won the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes five times over the past month, according to calls I receive. The amount is something like $550k, plus a new car. I tell them the address they have is wrong, and give them the address for an FBI office, then ask them to meet me there… and I offer 10% if they will. After a few calls I tired of the game, and have been blocking the calls.

  • lorrie neuenfeldt

    I wait and see if the unknown number leaves a voicemail and then call them back if it is legit.

  • The do not call registry is useless when 90 percent of the calls are from magic carpet drivers calling from spoofed numbers to steal your credit card info.

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