Spoofing: Scammers disguising their number to look just like yours

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SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) -- It's the FCC's most frequent complaint: Caller ID spoofing. Spoofing is when callers disguise their phone number either as one similar to yours or a local police department to make it more likely that an unsuspecting person will pick up the phone.

It happened to Jonathan Bogan, who works nearby. He said recently he saw he was getting a call from his exact phone number.

"I've had them spoof my own number and call my phone with that number which was really odd," Bogan said. "Really creepy."

It's one of the many tactics spoofers use to trick people into picking up. They'll disguise their ID to make it look like they live nearby, using the same area code and same three digits after.

Lt. Mike Eppler with the Denison Police Department said he's seen it a lot lately.

"We've had calls in the station and they're confused by it because it's a local number and they don't know how that has happened," Eppler said. "It has become a bit of a problem as of late."

The problem is, once you pick up once, the spoofers will keep calling you over and over.

Will Wiquist with the FCC told us scammers are after personal information, money and they even target vulnerable victims of tragedies. Most recently, they've been calling victims of hurricane Harvey asking if they have flood insurance to try and get them to pay up.

"It could be somebody with any type of motive who may want to contact you to get personal information," Eppler said.

Bogan said now, he just doesn't answer his phone when he sees a familiar looking number.

"It took me a little while to catch on," Bogan said. "If it's showing my area code on my cell phone now I kinda know better than to pick it up."

The FCC said spoofing is illegal if the scammers are out to get money or information.

They have some tips to prevent it from happening to you.

1. Never pick up the spoofed calls. It'll make the callers keep calling back.

2. Don't ever give someone you don't know money or information over the phone.

3. Block the numbers, or use a call screening service or app like Truecaller, PrivacyStar or Whitepages.

If you're being spoofed, file a complaint to the FCC online by clicking the link.

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