Phone scam complaints surge

Staff Report

INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers continue to fall victim to phone scams and Attorney General Greg Zoeller is recommending people pay special attention to area codes and phone numbers to help protect themselves.

Zoeller’s office has received more than 10,000 complaints this year about unwanted calls and robocalls.

“If you have Caller ID, you can’t always trust the number being displayed when your phone rings,” Zoeller said in a statement. “Scammers can easily spoof Caller ID to make it appear like the call is originating from somewhere it’s not, for example a government agency.”

“Spoofing” is a process in which telemarketers and scammers prompt the Caller ID to display fake numbers. Spoofing allows scammers to use fake telephone numbers and names to mimic the phone numbers of someone else.

Zoeller urges Hoosiers to avoid non-existent area codes, such as 000 and 123. He also warns that the Washinton, D.C. area code, 202, is often used. More than 1,500 complaints about scam sweepstakes have come from the Jamaican area code 876. Scammers also employ a tactic known as “Caller ID mirroring.” Telemarketers often use the strategy of transmitting a number to close to the one they are calling.

“If you don’t know the phone number and are suspicious, your best bet is to let the call go to voicemail,” Zoeller said in a statement. “If you answer, your number is more likely to be an ongoing target.”

Indiana residents can sign up for the state’s Do Not Call list by visiting or by calling 1-888-834-9969., a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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