Another spoofign scheme (Getty images)
Another spoofign scheme (Getty images)
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Spoofing means pretending to be something you are not, usually associated these days with fraud.

   Another phone scam using Franklin County Sheriff's number

Recently, the Franklin County Sheriff's Department says they've gotten a number of alerts from citizens in the region saying they got a call from a person or persons claiming they owe fines to the county. The callers are demanding payments to clear outstanding warrants.

 The number on caller ID shows it's from the Sheriff's Department

 Spoofing allows a caller to substitute a different number that will show up on the victim or recipient's caller ID. In these cases, the number shows it's the main line for the Franklin County Sheriff's office.

 The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) says do not answer any call that appears suspicious, or is unknown; if the call is spoofed to look like it's legitimate but you have doubts, hang up. If you wish, you can call the 'real' entity that shows up on your caller ID and let them know somebody is spoofing using their number.

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The FCSO says no law enforcement agency will ever contact people in this way, demand payment for fines, or threaten jail--ever.

Believe it or not, there are apps online that allow you to spoof numbers

It is a federal felony to spoof someone using another number, for the purposes of harm or fraud. But, since that is hard to prove in our modern tech world, it's rarely prosecuted. There are a number of apps online that allow a person to spoof numbers for calls.

  Some other tips from the FCC

If you get a voice mail or automated call trying to sell you something or offering a product or service, and they tell you to press a certain number key to be put on their do not call list, DON'T do it.  Just hang up and block the number. Here's why, from the FCC:

  • "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."

It's a good idea to report suspicious phone calls to law enforcement, especially if the callers are spoofing or copying a legitimate LE number.

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