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How to avoid neighbor spoofing scams

On average, victims lost $567 to scam callers in 2022 – three times more than in 2021.

Experts associate losses with the so-called neighbor-spoofing, a new technique criminals use to mask their identity.

Con-callers disguise themselves behind legitimate numbers and often rotate them to avoid being blocked or reported.

“The phone number may have a prefix with a victim’s area code or look like it belongs to a local business or even someone you know. When the victims pick up the call, scammers will try to talk them into giving away some of their personal information or perform some action like a money transfer,” Daniel Markuson, a cybersecurity expert at NordVPN, said.

According to the 2020 report by Truecaller app, 30% of Americans report falling victim to phone scams, and 17% on several occasions.

Phone spoofing is not illegal, and the technique is used by many agencies and organizations to hide their numbers. Fraudsters employ phone spoofing to trick users into believing they are talking to legitimate company representatives.

According to the report by Hiya, an app used to identify calls, in 2022, people received an average of 14 spam and fraud calls each month. Scammers often impersonate financial companies, governments, utilities, and insurance companies to trick their victims.

“If you answered a call and realized it was fraudulent, the best thing to do is to hang up immediately. It is pointless to engage in conversation with scammers because their usual goal is to steal information,” Daniel Markuson said.

Never give up personal details or perform any actions requested by a caller. After all, it’s them calling you, not the other way around. If in doubt, find an official phone number and call them back to double-check whether the call was genuine.

“Experienced fraudsters can imitate the tone of voice and manners of legitimate customer representatives and may sound very convincing,” NordVPN warned.

Experts also recommend reporting a suspicious call to local authorities or service providers for further investigation.

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