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Phone scammers using “neighbor spoof” technique to trick people into answering

Posted: 6:37 PM, Aug 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-14 19:41:03-04

If you answer calls from a local number and find out it’s a scammer, you’re not alone.

This tricky technique is increasingly being used by telephone scammers to get people to answer their calls.

People in Acadiana tell us their phones ring almost daily from scam callers.

While it’s easy not to pick up when the call is from an out-of-state number, the tricky part comes in when it’s an area code you recognize.

“Well, it’s kinda annoying because you think it’s someone you probably know. Not everyone calls from a 337 number unless you think you know them. I’m expecting someone I know or an appointment I’ve scheduled, and I get something I don’t want,” said Breaux Bridge resident Cheryl Huggins.

In order for telephone scammers to continue making a profit, they rely on people picking up their phones. That’s why they’re using the “neighbor spoofing” to copy the first six digits of people’s phone numbers.

“I work all over. I work from anywhere to Crowley, to Eunice, to Lafayette, all the way to Henderson. When I get to a different area code, or in that area, I get different numbers every time, and it changes,” said Crowley resident Gregory Mouton.

KATC went to Better Business Bureau of Acadiana to ask what people can do about neighbor spoofing.

“Don’t answer the phone! If it’s your mom, if it’s your mama, it’s your papa, answer the phone. If you don’t know who it is let them leave a message,” explained Better Business Bureau of Acadiana President & CEO Sharane Gott.

Gott says you can register your number online through “ DoNotCall.gov. ”  You can also report unwanted call on the website.

One Lafayette business owner is following the advice not to pick up.

“In fact, one time I picked up and it was somebody who said my son was in jail and he needed some bail money,” said Barbara Brignac.  She lets every unfamiliar number go straight to voicemail.

”I say, ‘well sir, I’m no idiot, and I know you’re a scam because I have no son,'” said Brignac.