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Science and Technology

Spoofing, Smishing, Robocalls: Who's On the Other End of the Line?

cell phone
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When the incoming call is from a number that mimics your own, it's called 'spoofing', and is usually a scam.

Ever receive a phone call from a number with the same area code and first three digits as your number, only to answer and find a telemarketer or recorded message on the other end of the line? A dubious congratulations to you: you’ve been the victim of spoofing.

Also called "smishing" and related to "robocalling," spoofing is prohibited by the Federal Communications Commission under the Truth in Caller ID Act. Anyone illegally transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value can face penalties of up to $10,000. But, sometimes it's legal, such as when a doctor redirects a call from her personal cell to a business display.

So how can you tell a spoof call from a legitimate call? And how can you stop the incessant ringing from robots? Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss safeguarding your phone and how to deal with these calls are Better Business Bureau Community Outreach Specialist Sandra Guile; Director of the East Central region of the Federal Trade Commission, Jon Steiger; and Cincinnati Police Specialist Laurie Kramer.

Tune in to Cincinnati Edition July 31 at 1 p.m. to hear this segment.