Alert_911 scams

Scam alert: ‘9-1-1’ spoofing

Even public safety officials are being used as a front for scam artists. Scammers are spoofing the emergency number 911 in hopes they can scare you into sharing personal information. We are taught 911 is there to help us, which is why the scam works.

Here’s the scenario:

Your phone rings and the Caller ID says 911.

When you answer, you’re told a relative has been in a car crash. Between the 911 number—which is spoofed/fake—and startling news, scammers are hoping you’ll be shaken enough to offer up your personal information.

If you’re wondering whether or not a call from 911 could be legit, it’s not. The emergency line has no reason to call you unless you called them in the first place. If for some reason you DID receive a call from a 911 call center, your Caller ID will NOT display the number 911. Instead, it will show up as a seven-digit administrative phone number, or in some cases will display restricted or blocked.

If your Caller ID says that you’re getting a call from 911, don’t give out any personal information or don’t answer at all. You can call your local police department and ask if it was a real call or not; just Google the non-emergency number for your area.

Last year, the FCC gave TDS greater authority to block these types of calls, yet these scammers figure out ways to get around the system. Using a call block app like PrivacyStar can block known scams from your mobile phone. If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, you should contact your local police, the FCC and TDS immediately.

Remember, it is important to never give out your social security number, credit card or insurance information to someone who has called you. Unless you’ve initiated the call, do not provide personal information over the phone or via e-mail.

This year, the scam has been reported in Michigan, New York and Georgia.

 

 

 

About Cheryl McCollum

Cheryl McCollum is an Associate Manager of Public Relations at TDS Telecom. She has 25 years of media experience. She’s worked as a newspaper reporter in Northfield, Minn., and Beaver Dam, Wi. She worked in media relations and advocacy for the Wisconsin Medical Society and the Wisconsin Bankers Association. She also worked in communications and advocacy for Habitat for Humanity of Dane County. She has a Journalism and Political Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She’s married, has two adult children and enjoys traveling, especially to U.S. state capitols.

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