Beware of Caller ID “Spoofing” Scam
February 19, 2016
Attorneys and their clients have joined the ranks of victims affected by a new scam that attempts to obtain personal and financial information for fraudulent use.
The process is referred to as Caller ID “spoofing.” It allows callers to deliberately falsify the information transmitted to Caller ID displays, effectively disguising their real identity. Spoofing is used to trick someone into giving out personal or financial information so that it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally. Most types of spoofing are prohibited by U.S. law and Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rules.
“Spoofers” have disguised themselves as representatives of banks, creditors, insurance companies, and even the IRS. Now, they are masquerading as attorneys. Most recent targets are consumers who have filed, or in the process of filing, for bankruptcy. Recipients of the calls are instructed to immediately wire money to satisfy a debt that supposedly is outside the bankruptcy proceeding. Some consumers have even been threatened with arrest if they fail to wire money to pay the debt. Other scammers simply indicate that additional fees must be paid to the attorney.
Following is an outline of how the scam works:
- The client receives a phone call
- The caller ID shows the number belongs to his/her lawyer
- The client is then given a toll-free number to call
- When the client calls the toll-free number, they are given instructions on how to pay the debt
So, how are the spoofers getting this information? Most likely, they have obtained the client and attorney names/relationship through publicly available court documents.
If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, please contact your attorney. To learn more about this scam, or to file a complaint, visit the FCC website. You should also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
About the Author
About Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C.
Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C., has been providing legal counsel for 75 years through its offices in Phoenix and Peoria, Arizona; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s primary areas of practice include advertising and media law; agribusiness; automobile dealership law; bankruptcy, reorganization and creditors’ rights; construction; corporate and securities; employee benefits and pensions; energy; family law and domestic relations; health care; intellectual property; labor and employment; legal ethics; litigation; professional liability defense; real estate; surety and fidelity; tax; and trust and estates. For additional information please visit and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Please note that this client alert has been prepared by Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C. for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute, and should not be considered, legal advice, and you are urged to consult with an attorney on your own specific legal matters. Transmission of the information contained in this client alert is not intended to create, and receipt by the reader does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship with Jennings, Strouss & Salmon or any of its individual attorneys.