Scammers are getting trickier and consumers are falling for it

’tis the season for phony phone calls.

Scammers are using “neighbor spoofing,” or the same area code to disguise their identities, which has hit 85 percent of Americans this year, data phone solutions company First Orion says. This is up from 73 percent in the same study from 2016.

The survey interviewed 1,000 mobile phone users about their usage and found that spoofing is up 400 percent from last year.

“According to our data, over half of all unknown incoming calls that match the first six digits of your mobile number are neighbor spoof calls,” First Orion says. “We’ve found they like to target consumers on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 3-6 p.m. specifically — and you’re least likely to get a scam call on a Sunday.”

First Orion says the holidays are the best time for scammers to up their game because “people’s willingness to give” now. Because more people are donating their money during the holiday season, scammers can pose as nonprofits, making it easier for them to get people to hand over their account information. Nearly 60 percent of respondents have received a scam call within the last month.

The top scams were cruise and vacations, with 57 percent of all neighbor spoofing calls, followed by IRS (40 percent) and imposters (27 percent).

Scams are up across the board this year. If it wasn’t a neighbor spoofing phone call, there are plenty of other ways you probably got hacked this year, like your fingerprints or your refrigerator. As technology gets smarter, our information becomes more vulnerable to hackers. We can get to our banking information seamlessly, but scammers are finding ways into ATMs and other card readers to steal our information there. Even the most private financial information is easily stolen. Even our tax filings.

While banks are one of the top places for scammers to steal our data, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way we are getting scammed. It can come when we shop, when we work, and even when we are at the hospital. We are all at risk of getting our identities stolen.

First Orion says that hacks tend to increase over the holidays because scammers are feeding off people’s sense of giving during the season. The survey says more than 40 percent of respondents feel more in the donating spirit this time of year. Unfortunately, not everyone is paying attention to where their money goes once they hand it over. Donation scams come every year, and every year fake charities are stealing our money.

If you haven’t been a victim of ID theft yet, it’s only a matter of time before you are one. And if you’ve got a squeaky-clean record, you’re more likely to know someone else who has been scammed. Hacks, scams, and data breaches aren’t stopping any time soon, as more businesses are getting hit with them. But companies are finding it increasingly difficult to staff online security positions, and information technology employees that are working to increase security are finding that their jobs aren’t sure how to handle potential data breaches. Companies would rather secure their physical buildings rather than their online data.

Make sure you’re protecting yourself and keeping tabs on your personal information.

Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Credit & Debt, Tech

identity theft, infographic, scams

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Article last modified on July 3, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: It's Your Friendly Neighborhood Scammer Calling - AMP.