‘Spoofing’ phone scam affects some residents with 435 area codes

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Utah advocacy group says it is the subject of a phone scam known as a “spoofing attack,” with some of the fraudulent calls going out to numbers with area codes typical to Southern Utah residents.

Stock image | Photo by Tuan_azizi/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Utah Clean Energy, a public-interest organization working to expand renewable energy and energy efficiency, says the spoofing attack began at 4 p.m. Thursday. The group has received hundreds of calls from Utah residents complaining about the attack.

“Potentially hundreds of cellphone customers received calls that appeared to come from Utah Clean Energy’s main phone number,” Utah Clean Energy Executive Director Sarah Wright said in a press release. “However, these calls were not initiated by our company, rather from someone ‘spoofing’ our organization’s main phone number.”

The calls appear to have been placed to Utah-based cellphone customers with 801 and 435 area codes. Customers who received the spoofing call reported being treated rudely, and others reported that the spoofers were trying to sell them solar installations.

The Federal Communications Commission offers the following tips to avoid spoof calls:

  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
  • If you answer the phone and the caller — or a recording — asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes” or “No.”
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
  • If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls. Information on available robocall blocking tools is available at the FCC website.

For more information, contact Utah Clean Energy by telephone at 801-363-4046 or email at [email protected].

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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