PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — When you receive an unsolicited phone call from an unfamiliar number — should you answer it or let it go to voicemail?
Social Catfish, an online identity verification service, warns there could be a scammer on the other line.
Scammers are known for using illegal “spoofing” techniques, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Spoofing is when a scammer disguises their identity by manipulating the information transmitted to your caller ID display. Scammers often spoof their numbers to get through phone systems that block unknown callers.
Social Catfish warns that scammers often use local area codes to make themselves seem legitimate and trick people into answering the phone.
There are five area codes you should be wary of, according to Social Catfish: 268 (Antigua and Barbuda), 876 (Jamaica), 473 (Grenada and Carriacou), 649 (Turks and Caicos Islands) and 284 (British Virgin Islands).
Social Catfish urges everyone to ignore phone calls coming from numbers with those area codes, since all of them have been tied to various types of fraud.
If you do answer the phone, Social Catfish suggests not engaging with the caller. Instead, simply hang up.
Regardless, Social Catfish stresses the importance of never providing an unknown caller with personal or financial information.
Anyone who’s unsure whether an unfamiliar phone number is legitimate can easily verify a caller’s identity through an online search, according to Social Catfish.
The FCC urges anyone who receives a suspicious phone call from an unfamiliar number, or believes they’ve fallen victim to a spoofing scam, to report it.
If you’re looking for ways to prevent scammers from calling your phone, you can add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry. You can also utilize call-blocking software, which can send unknown callers straight to voicemail or prevent them from contacting you altogether.